News / Winnipeg

City of Winnipeg committee approves Waterfront Drive tower

A controversial 24-storey tower proposed to rise from the long vacant James Avenue Pumping Station on Waterfront Drive is one step closer to becoming reality.

At a meeting Monday the city’s downtown development committee rejected an appeal to ground the estimated $70 million project, despite pleas from residents angry the project will break rules keeping buildings in the area to no more than eight-storeys.

“I can certainly understand feelings of concern,” said committee member Coun. Jenny Gerbasi during the meeting. “But listening to the entire presentation, and looking at the details of the project itself, it does appear to have a relative minimal impact.”

Most of the residents who spoke at the meeting live in neighbouring condominiums along Waterfront Drive and have concerns the building will affect their sightlines, their property values, and set a precedent for future developments.

“What can I say? It’s ludicrous,” said Rudy Friesen, an architect who helped design the condominiums next door at 300 Waterfront Drive where he also now lives. “It’s so major and so substantial; it’s going to change the area.”

The project’s developers said their main goal is to preserve the historically important pumps housed in the building, telling committee members the extra floors are the only way the project can be economically viable.

The appeal was rejected with some conditions, and the plan still needs approval from council as a whole.

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