Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An African Savannah in Winnipeg

The new African-Canadian Culture Centre

The parking lot where it all may happen.

The Free Press scooped this story about the African-Canadian Culture Centre proposal for an $18 million building on Hargrave Street.

The site of the project is the former location of the Young Men's Hebrew Association. The parking lot, owned by Shelter Corporation, will be sold to the African Canadian Foundation. Apparently, they need to raise $7 million for the first phase.

From the Free Press story:

What would be included in the development? Phase I would involve the construction of a $6-million, 24,000-square-foot building including a 7,000-square-foot recreation centre, a 5,000-square-foot multi-purpose hall, meeting rooms, office space, a daycare centre, an African arts and interpretive centre, a kitchen and an African-Canadian restaurant.

Phase II would involve a four-storey, 32,000-square-foot residential/retail complex that would include an underground parkade, African-themed shops and an imported-food store on the main floor, and 100 student apartments on the other three floors. The apartments would be mainly one-bedroom units 500 to 600 square feet in size and would rent for about $1,000 a month.

There is sign up on the Hargrave site but no website that I have been able to find with details on the project.

There are some good people listed as helping with the fundraising.

My only concern is that things seem to still really be in the early stages and that the sign might be more wish fulfillment than an actual announcement of work.

Guess we have to follow this closely but it does seem a project that makes sense for the area and for the city's future which will be focused on immigration and education.

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One Man Committee said...

$18 million is an ambitious fundraising goal, but it would be great for the community (the African-Canadian community and the rest of the city in general) if this facility were to be built.

The design strikes me as kind of goofy (it has a certain patronizing element to it), but functionally, it will provide the African-Canadian community with a place that can really make a difference. I like the second phase and the ground-floor level spaces, presumably to be leased out to immigrant entrepreneurs. There is a bit of an African business hub emerging in the Central Park area but this could help establish true critical mass.

John Dobbin said...

I await further design pictures as well as a solid business plan.

Think the idea is great in principle but fear that the organization might not be there to carry it through.