WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents last night approved the first phase of redeveloping two downtown Winnipeg landmarks, which will consolidate student services and academic programs into a more cohesive campus. Refurbishing the Greyhound Bus Depot at 491 Portage Avenue and constructing a new building on the former United Army Surplus site at 460 Portage Avenue will strengthen Winnipeg’s downtown business and arts hub with a phased-in redevelopment plan.
“The University of Winnipeg is a major anchor in downtown redevelopment and this new, eastern face allows our strong business and arts programs to be highly visible and accessible to our students as well as the many downtown residents and employees in the area,” said Lloyd Axworthy, UWinnipeg’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “Earlier this month we strengthened our western campus at Furby-Langside by breaking ground for our new science complex, next to our new student and community residence. We are bookending that development with a new eastern presence.”
By developing the Greyhound Bus Depot space and the United Army Surplus site, the University will be able to shed a number of external leases in order to consolidate programs and operations closer to the main campus, while developing strategic partnerships with external organizations.
United Army Surplus space redevelopment
The Board approved demolishing the former United Army Surplus building and authorized a phased-in plan to construct a new environmentally-friendly Silver LEED building, between two- to six-storeys, beginning potentially in spring 2009 with occupancy expected in fall 2010. It would be co-owned with other partners, and could house:
· UWinnipeg’s new Faculty of Business and Economics
· UWinnipeg’s Division of Continuing Education business-related programs
· UWinnipeg’s bookstore and related retail open to students and the general public
· Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art
· A bistro
· Office and class space to be sub-leased
Located at the corner of Portage Avenue and Colony Street, the site is prime real estate in Winnipeg’s downtown, which offers the opportunity to connect with both the city’s business and arts communities. UWinnipeg is pursuing new partnerships with complementary external organizations including Plug-In Institute for Contemporary Art along with a strengthened relationship with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, which will create an arts precinct with many synergies and cooperative possibilities. In addition, UWinnipeg, Plug-In and WAG hope to transform Colony Street running behind the Winnipeg Art Gallery from Portage Avenue to St. Mary Avenue into a pedestrian and cycling friendly plaza, closed to vehicular traffic.
“This is a non-traditional approach to campus redevelopment,” said Axworthy. “This is the kind of contemporary urban planning that needs to take place in the 21st Century whereby we can bring a variety of partners together to not only build a stronger University, but also a better city.”
Greyhound Bus Depot redevelopment
The Greyhound Bus Depot, which will be vacated in August 2009, will be redeveloped to accommodate a One-Stop-Shop Student Service centre, where UWinnipeg students can receive everything from assistance with admissions and financial aid to guidance counseling. Currently, UWinnipeg, through its Community Renewal Corporation has a minority interest in the 491 Portage Avenue complex. UWinnipeg will lease a total of 37,246 square feet in the depot including the news stand, east and west surface parking areas and Salisbury House restaurant, which may be renovated to accommodate a student pub.
Costs for redeveloping the Greyhound Bus Depot will be offset by savings from consolidating campus operations, along with parking and restaurant revenues.
The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) will manage the two projects.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, C: 204.782.3279 E: firstname.lastname@example.org