News / Winnipeg

‘It’s transformative’: Tallest building in Winnipeg eyed for Main and Graham Avenue

The building, developed by Artis REIT, would be 40 storeys tall, with 36 floors of residential and four floors of amenities.

A proposed rendering of the newly clad 360 Main Street building and 40-storey apartment tower at 300 Main, two projects that were officially announced by Artis REIT Thursday

Contributed/ Artis REIT

A proposed rendering of the newly clad 360 Main Street building and 40-storey apartment tower at 300 Main, two projects that were officially announced by Artis REIT Thursday

The skyscrapers at Winnipeg’s iconic corner of Portage and Main might soon have some neighbouring company.

Local developer Artis REIT announced a proposed residential and commercial tower on Thursday, which would cost about $165 million.

The estimated 40-storey tower would feature 36 floors of residential apartment suits, and four floors of commercial and amenity space, which would be situated at 300 Main Street at Graham Avenue.

“It’s not just good for Winnipeg, but it’s overdue,” Armin Martens, President and CEO of Artis REIT, said of the development to reporters and members of the business community gathered for Thursday’s unveiling.

“In the long run there really is no such thing as a successful city without a successful urban core.”

Martens said proposed amenities for 300 Main would include an urban-style food store, daycare and dog run.

He said currently, there is a shortage of “high-quality, high-density” housing options in the city’s downtown.

 “Winnipeg is known as a city that’s going in the right direction, but in slow motion. We want to accelerate that,” Martens said.

Once completed, the building could be the city’s tallest–depending on whether the proposed 43-storey SkyCity condo development goes ahead at Graham Avenue and Garry Street– as well as the tallest building between here and Calgary.

Martens said he plans to have shovels in the ground by next February, with construction on the tower finished by April 2019. 

Neither provincial nor civic funds would be used to fund the multi-million project, he said, adding they “never even thought about applying for capital assistance.”

The CEO of the city’s development agency applauded the apartment tower as one way to attract more of the millennial generation to live downtown, and expressed confidence the development’s proximity to Portage and Main will ensure it finds tenants.

“It is literally a two minute walk to the library, it’s a two minute walk to the MTS Centre, it’s a two minute walk to the Forks,” Angela Mathieson of CentreVenture told reporters Thursday.

“It’s transformative, there’s no way around it,” Coun. John Orlikow said of the development after Thursday’s announcement.

Also included in the developers’ plans is a $25 million facelift to 360 Main Street, where the exterior walls would be replaced with a glass curtain wall.

'I'm kind of neutral': Portage and Main property owner says of reopening intersection

The property owner of 360 Main Street and Winnipeg Square does not believe a reopened Portage and Main would be “detrimental” to retailers located in the underground concourse.

Armin Martens, President and CEO of Artis REIT, was responding to reporters’ questions Thursday as to what the impact of removing the longstanding barricades on the historic corner would have on its existing properties, and a proposed mixed-use tower at 300 Main.

“I’m kind of neutral,” he said of reopening Portage and Main.

“Short or long answer is well, anything we can do to make Portage and Main more relevant and a better visitor and business destination and experience is good for us.”

Martens said he is open to “any and all ideas” that mean good business for retailers either above or below ground at the corner.

He said so far, there has been a mixed reaction from retailers in the concourse to the idea of a non-barricaded Portage and Main.

“A slight majority of our tenants here are concerned that would be detrimental, in that case personally I don’t think it’ll be detrimental at all,” Martens said.

“Everybody knows where we are, you know what shops are available in the concourse. It’s not completely underground, it’s partially underground. Easy to access.”

“I’m personally not concerned about that at all,” Martens said.

The city recently hired Dillon Consulting Limited for $116,000 to conduct a transportation study on the feasibility of reintroducing foot traffic to the intersection. 

The wheels of political will to have the barricades torn down were reset in motion during the 2014 mayoral campaign race, when now Mayor Brian Bowman pledged to reopen the intersection to pedestrians.

The street crossings were barricaded in the ‘70s as part of an agreement the city inked with property developers to open an underground shopping concourse

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