Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Exchange District Housing

Winnipeg Free Press photo of the Exchange redevelopment talked about for Market and James Avenue.

Second Free Press photo of Portage and Main parkade

Hot on the heels of the Union Bank Tower conversion to housing comes the news that Qualico is talking to Nygaard about the six buildings they own downtown. The proposal by Qualico would see housing put on the upper floors with retail on the main floors.

Once again, as with every development, the issue of parking comes up. The city may be on the hook for a 450 car parkade. I am wondering if the parkade financing might come from the sale of the city owned parkade at Portage and Main. The 978 car parkade is a money spinner for the city which has been used as a piggy bank over many years. The premise on which the city wishes to sell the facility is that they want to pay off the parking authorities debt and use the money for other city facilities. The problem is this: the debt was created by the city by taking money out of the parking authority in the first place.

There are a lot of questions to be asked in regards to selling the parkade but it just being rushed through.

More on the parking issue again soon as the story is still in flux.

In principle though, additional housing for downtown is great. However, many people got excited about Nygaard's investment back when it happened as well. A lot of times there are big dreams indicated but no follow through from public or private sectors.

Here's wishing that Qualico's intentions reach fruition.

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