News / Winnipeg

City’s top committee endorses heritage status for historic Main Street buildings

Toronto-based hotelier is encouraged to consider other sites in city's downtown

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

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

Winnipeg’s top committee OK’d designating three historic south Main street properties with heritage status, but is telling a hotelier interested in developing the site not to run away too quickly. 

 The city’s executive policy committee voted on Wednesday to endorse the heritage designations for the MacDonald Block, Winnipeg Hotel and Fortune Block --home to the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club--as was previously approved by a committee on property development and downtown heritage.

That decision likely brought more disappointment to Toronto-based developer Harry Christakis of #16 Hospitality, who is vying to tear down the buildings to construct a $35 million, 150-unit hotel. 

Granting city protection on the buildings would effectively kill that plan, he said previously. 

Christakis’ offer is one of two pitched for the site, the other being from local businessman John Pollard who said he would buy the buildings and restore them to their original states. 

“There’s are a lot of surface parking lots that I trust are being looked at by hoteliers,” mayor Brian Bowman told Wednesday’s committee. 

“If the hotel option in this location doesn’t pan out we will be very active in supporting alternative sites and locations.” 

Coun. Marty Morantz also questioned whether a new hotel could preserve the facades of the buildings in its designs, similiar to the Red River College buildings on Notre Dame Avenue.

Christakis said that was considered, but doing so would carry a considerable cost, roughly estimating at least $3 million extra. 

“It always a little bit more money to preserve heritage,” Coun. John Orlikow said.

“[But] once heritage is gone, it’s gone.”

Approvals of the three heritage designations are still subject to a council vote. 

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