Sunday, October 19, 2008

Portage and Main/Winnipeg Square Part 2

Picture 1 Formally, the Bank of Montreal Tower (333 Main Street) opposite Winnipeg Square (also owned by Crown Realty), it is now one of two buildings used by MTS for headquarters downtown. Picture taken by Cam B.

Picture 2 191 Pioneer is seen in the second picture in this photo by Little Hobbit Feet. It is the second building used by MTS. In this picture it is on the extreme right beside the tower in the center.

As mentioned in part 1, Winnipeg Square is part of the renovations taking place in what many Winnipeg's still refer to as the Trizec building.

It is the largest underground shopping mall in Winnipeg, according to its present owner Crown Realty Partners. Crown acquired the mall and Commodity Exchange Tower in 2007.

Also included in the Crown purchase was 333 Main Street and 191 Pioneer Street. 333 Main Street was the former Bank of Montreal tower attached the Bank of Montreal building facing Portage and Main. It was built in 1981. It is now used by MTS for their headquarters after leaving their Polo Park location.

191 Pioneer is building immediately beside 333 Main Street although located on a different street. It is also occupied by MTS.

On to Winnipeg Square...

Back in August it was reported that Winnipeg Square was undergoing $3 million renovation. Like a lot of businesses, high efficiency lighting was installed. It has been a good strategy with today's high energy bills. The lobby of the Commodity Exchange Tower was also getting a makeover and a renaming. Since the exchange has no trading floor now and the name of the WCE is now ICE, it made only sense to change the building's name as well. The building will now be known as 360 Main Street.

Flooring, walls and other aspects of the mall have been upgraded and the project in October of 2008 is nearing completion.

As far as a mall goes, Winnipeg Square is all business. It isn't a fashion mall. It is 49 shops geared to servicing the many businesses that call Portage and Main home. The mall has the offices of Purolator Courier and UPS. It also where several cell phone companies have locations including: MTS and Rogers.

For office supplies there is Cartridge World for copiers and there is a Grand and Toy office supply store.

Some of the bigger stores in the mall are Shoppers Drug Mart and Hallmark Cards.

There are some professional offices for dental and chiropractic care and the mall as well as a credit union and insurance office.

The mall has primarily been know for the food court. It isn't a great food court by any stretch but beggers can't be choosers. A McDonald's and Starbucks have positioned themselves closer to Portage Avenue than the food court which backs onto Graham Avenue.

The food court has the usual A&W and Koya Japan that you find as most malls as well as the typical pasta and sub places.

There is a finer dining establishment Chamberlyn's that is tucked into the mall corner at Fort and Graham. They've had a yummy Caesar salad on the days I could not face the food court.

A mall touch up is certainly due but it won't change the fact that Winnipeg Square is a service mall to the the towers at Portage and Main. It will never be a destination for any other type of shopper. Still, it is a successful formula since the mall has nearly 95% occupancy.

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