News / Winnipeg

Update: Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club saved for now

A city committee has voted to put the MacDonald Block, Winnipeg Hotel and Fortune Block on the heritage list - but it still has to pass council.

The Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club is saved for now.

Handout

The Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club is saved for now.

It seems the times may not be a-changin' for an iconic Winnipeg music club after its building was granted heritage status by a city committee.

On Tuesday, the property development and downtown heritage committee gave the go-ahead to designate three south Main Street properties— the MacDonald Block, Winnipeg Hotel and Fortune Block— with heritage status, effectively removing them from the demolition block to make way for a $35 million dollar hotel.

Toronto-based architect Harry Christakis said afterwards city protection on the three historic buildings essentially means “that hotel is dead.”

“It’s a little disappointing needless to say,” he told reporters Tuesday.

George Landes, owner of the 133-year old Fortune Building, which houses the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club, was in favour of a for-profit development, such as a hotel, to replace the aged building.

But numerous speakers, including Heritage Winnipeg executive director Cindy Tugwell pleaded to the committee not to choose “demolition by default” because the buildings’ owners allowed them to fall into a state of disrepair, but instead choose to preserve the city’s history.

“This is the place that people love,” Times Change(d) owner John Scoles said outside the committee room.

“If you know anything about this kind of business and this kind of music, people want the old place they came to with their dad and they want to bring their daughter there 20 years from now. We’ve managed to do that.”

More than 200 musicians play at the local club, he added.

Before the committee’s decision, Coun. Russ Wyatt noted he did not want to send a message to the hotel developer that outside investment wasn’t welcome in the city,  saying the “game changer” was an offer made by local businessman John Pollard to purchase and restore the buildings to their original state.

“What makes our city what it is is the uniqueness of it and heritage is part of it,” Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said Tuesday.

“There’s a real opportunity to see (these buildings) redeveloped.”

The buildings’ property owners will have a chance to appeal the committee’s decision before the council has final say.

Metro Savers