Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Portage Avenue Part 4 Boyd Building
On the day before Christmas, the Free Press reported that investors had bought the Boyd Building. The investors also bought the two adjacent properties.
The building was constructed in 1912 and stands 9 stories tall. From about 1913 on, the Boyd has housed medical and dental offices. This remains true today although the building has been in need of a little upgrading for some time. A list of some of the businesses that have occupied the tower is here.
The new owners are also the builders of the Canada Post sorting plant being built at the airport.
In the Free Press story said the owners have come up with a $30 million proposal to renovate the building but also construct a 420 parking stall on the two adjacent properties, one of which is a vacant lot. The parkade would be 12 stories tall, slightly lower than the Boyd building itself.
The picture in the Free Press indicates that a lab and pharmacy would occupy the first two floors of the building and the other 10 floors would be parking.
Given what we have seen with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority building on Main Street, I believe the city should be very cautious about how this parking lot will look relative to the the streetscape. Moreover, access to the parking lot has to be given careful consideration. I am curious to see where the parking entrances and exits will be for the parkade.
The renovation and new construction of the Boyd might be very good or very bad. City Hall needs to make sure that Portage doesn't become more of an eyesore with a dreary parkade facade and ill thought out entrances to the lot.