Monday, August 15, 2011

Portage Avenue 10 - McDonald's Development

The Former McDonald's in the 600 Block of Portage Avenue

Google Streetview of what existed across the street where the present McFeetors Hall and Faculty of Science buildings of University of Winnipeg are

The McDonald's in the 600 block of Portage Avenue has sat empty for years since the restaurant chain moved westward the spot between Sherbrook and Maryland Streets. That is a long time.

The reason McDonald's moved was that the restaurant was quite large compared to the formats they now favour. It also could only be accessed for drive through by going down a side street and was not convenient for people travelling west as drivers could not simply turn to access the south side location.

And so the large store sat empty.

The ever expanding footprint of the University of Winnipeg has changed everything. In three years, the university has created both north and south side entities in the form of McFeetors Hall, the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex and the Buhler Centre.

More expansion is pending.

The presence of so many students obviously has not gone unnoticed by the business community. While the McDonald's was far too big for one restaurant chain to make a go of it, it certainly has promise for three.

The Free Press reported that a developer was sub-dividing the restaurant into three and created a new storefront for the whole thing.

Hello hungry university students.

Now sadly, there is another big empty storefront to fill. The Blockbuster a few doors over from McDonald's has been empty since the U.S. parent threw Canada's stores under the bus as collateral.

This will be the first full academic year that many of these new components will all be in place.

The western part of the campus will be accessible two ways. The first via Portage Avenue. The second through the new Richardson Green Corridor.

It will be interesting to see what other developments from the private sector might result from the U of W building program. We have yet to see the fieldhouse and another dorm residence to come.

This is an election year. Might we hear further developments?

Buhler Centre lands prior to construction


Reed Solomon said...

I heard it'll be a pizza pizza going at the McDonald's site.

John Dobbin said...

Hmm, Panago is two doors down already.

Not that students don't like pizza.

One Man Committee said...

I'd be pretty surprised if there were more big U of W development announcements in the next couple of years. That is quite the growth spurt they are undergoing and I would think that it will probably tax the operating budget quite heavily. Adding even more buildings now seems like a stretch considering that the existing parts of the U of W campus are still pretty neglected, to say nothing of the library.

I'd say that the U of W should concentrate on improving what they already have in the way of buildings before adding even more.

John Dobbin said...

OMC: I agree that at some point there seems to be a limit to what expansion can take place.

I think that the major initiative now should be to enrich the endowment fund to enhance student loans, books acquisitions, programs and the like.

Endowment funds can really make a difference to the long life of a community or organization. The Winnipeg Foundation does amazing things with its grants and the MTC Foundation does the same thing for theatre.

The future lies in foundations.

Anonymous said...

Screw McDonalds.