True North Square will get city support, Mayor Bowman says

Mayor Brian Bowman told reporters city officials were working on what kind of help True North might need for its $400-million development in downtown Winnipeg.

'We are working very hard here at the city to support those efforts,' said Mayor Brian Bowman

Artist rendering of True North Square (CBC News)

City officials are working on a request for support for True North Square, but the details haven't been worked out yet. 

Mayor Brian Bowman told reporters Wednesday there has been communication between city staff and True North.

"Our officials are having discussions with them to determine what the specific ask would look like. But as soon as that is completed then we will be moving forward," Bowman said.

The $400-million development for Winnipeg's downtown is being driven by the Chipman family and their partners. The plan includes a mixture of office and retail space as well as a hotel connected to the recently-expanded convention centre.

True North and its investors own the NHL Winnipeg Jets and the MTS Centre.

Bowman got into political hot water last year for questioning some of the behind-the-scenes work on the development. Now he says he's told staff to look closely at how the city can assist True North and determine what the project needs in terms of infrastructure.

"This is a massive investment in downtown and we are working very hard here at the city to support those efforts," Bowman said.

Bowman told reporters the city could provide help to True North on items such as skywalks, lighting, sidewalks or other infrastructure, but didn't know how much it might cost the city.

"The ask relates to public amenities and public space, so determining what that is and what the costs are, or investment would be on our part is exactly what is being determined right now," Bowman said.

The city could also provide assistance to True North Square through tax incremental financing. Provincial legislation allows the city and province to support development in what's known as the Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED) in an 11‑block area between the MTS Centre and the Winnipeg Convention Centre.