Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Portage Avenue Part 3

First picture: The A&B Sound Building back in its heyday.

Second picture: The University of Winnipeg

As mentioned in Portage Avenue Part 2, Portage Avenue is going through major changes. Some of those changes may be affected by a downturn in the economy.

For every step forward, there seems there is a step or two back though. Mountain Equipment Co-Op was a bold step forward. The closure of A&B Sound store was a step back. It remains empty even now. Prior to it being a music and electronics store, it was known as the Portage Village Inn. The building is on the market now but doesn't seem to have any takers.

Beside the old A&B Sound building is the Mitchell-Copp building. Like A&B, it is empty. North Portage Development Corporation has it targeted for redevelopment. Hard to say what could go in the building. It seems unlikely that a retail business would find it suitable. The best bet might be condos or a business looking for a unique office.

Probably one of the better news stories for north Portage is that the Red Apple store, closed for two months will be replaced with a Dollarama. This is a more attractive option for the building. This format store has seen success across Canada.

The Avenue building and the Hample building have new owner with new plans for condos, retail and restaurants. It remains to be seen whether they will follow through.

The only sure bet seems to be Dollarama.

It is tragic that following the construction of the MTS Centre and near completion of the Manitoba Hydro building that redevelopment of a large swath of Portage is taking so long and may end up being put off due to the downturn in the economy.

The only work that seems to be guaranteed work that is going on on the north side of Portage aside from Dollarama is the University of Winnipeg with its new dorms and faculty of science.

It remains to be seen whether other projects proceed.

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