University of Winnipeg unveils plan for $27M residence

Downtown Winnipeg is getting a new, $27-million apartment building with units ranging from premium to low-income suites.
A 102-suite apartment building for students of varied financial backgrounds is set to be built at the corner of Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard, near the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (Marianne Klowak/CBC)

Downtown Winnipeg is getting a new, $27-million apartment building with units ranging from premium to low-income suites.

The 14-storey, 102-suite complex — a partnership between the University of Winnipeg and government of Manitoba — is set to go up near the corner of Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard.

Forty-six apartments will have affordable rents for lower-income people, with 32 of those being offered on a "rent-geared-to-income basis," according to the U of W.

The remaining 56 will be offered at market rent rates, 16 of which will be considered premium units.

“This new building will be perfectly situated to provide a home for students from a variety of backgrounds and will add new richness to the growing downtown community,” said Housing and Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson​.

“It will create jobs, provide an economic boost for services in the area and build upon our partnership with UWinnipeg, which has changed the landscape of downtown Winnipeg.”

“We recognize that many students are also parents with unique housing needs and, with an extremely low vacancy rate, downtown Winnipeg needs more residential options,” said UWinnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy.

“We are extremely committed to removing whatever barriers we can so that recent immigrants, indigenous people, rural students and adult learners can choose to follow their dreams and obtain a university education. We are also strengthening downtown renewal by offering more market-priced and premium apartments in a highly sought prominent and convenient location.”

The location for the 112,000-square-foot building is currently a parking lot between the Buhler Centre and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, across from The Hudson’s Bay.

Axworthy expects a housing co-op will partner with the university in the ownership of the complex, so there will be no impact on the university's operating budget.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014 and the project is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2015.

The location is currently a parking lot behind the Buhler Centre.