|Confusion Corner Tower at Osborne|
The five storey office tower should be underway soon.
Also getting approval in the next week will be 548 Stradbrook Avenue, site of the boarded up Phi Delta Theta house. Till recently, the city was holding up approvals there for multi-unit housing but a few tweaks and the job is back on track. It will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
The old Papa George's restaurant still remains for sale. After 35 years at 93 Osborne, I think it is good that it is taking some time to figure who would best take over the property. The original location of Papa George's was where Mona Lisa restaurant was on Corydon Avenue. In the 1970s, it was George's...then Papa George's and the 1980s it became Mona Lisa Pizza. For a while there were a few Papa George's locations in the city until owner Nick Contzamanis was left with the iconic Osborne location.
The deal for a new place is complicated because the owner of Papa George's did not own the property. The property is owned by Martin Ringer who also owned the property run by his son at Movie Village as well as the Vi-Anne Restaurant. The Shopper's Drug Mart expansion on those old properties continues.
The demise of Movie Village may have been in the cards but it has not completely disappeared. The store has moved into Music Trader, also a Ringer owned and operated property. Martin Ringer was one of the original investors in the concept of Osborne Village. He did not start as a developer but as owner and operator of Ringer's Pharmacy in Fort Garry.
One other original owner in the Village is Basil Lagopoulos who has just shuttered Bistrot by Basil's. Despite entreaties from his son to hang up his apron and sell the property, he plowed through two years of insurance claims to come back. Over a million was spent on the restaurant. It will likely remain a restaurant but we are seeing this all over the city: Long term restauranteurs with 25 years plus closing in part because of how hard it is to keep on going or have someone take over the business within the family.
Fear not those that worry about Osborne Village, I think you can expect to see restaurants return to Papa George's and Basil's site.
It would be good to see some major initiative on what is an important corner just down the street from the two restaurants. It is the issue of the Number 4 Fire Hall. Now, I know what you're saying...not another freaking fire hall but go with me on this.
The site of the present Number 4 Fire Hall is here:
|Number 4 Fire Hall at Osborne and Stradbrook|
It is situated by the old but important Osborne Village Inn.
|Fire Hall and Osborne Village Inn and beer vendor|
|Hotel and parking lot and fire hall on the corner of Osborne|
It is fair to say that the hotel is a cultural touchstone of the area but is not exactly where one might stay for a room. Two years ago, a murder took place that could have been linked to the hotel.
Give the fact that a number of older hotels have closed or slated to close recently such as the Montcalm, Charleswood Motor Inn, Sheraton/York the Hotel and Place Louis Riel...it should come as no surprise that the future of the Osborne Village Inn should be considered.
If the thinking is that a hotel, vendor and live music place in the Village is good, could the addition of the Number 4 Fire Hall and a complete re-build of the hotel and vendor along with the desired parkade all be part and parcel of a worthy development?
It is interesting to think about. A better quality hotel with restaurants and live music entrances right out to Osborne (suitably sound proofed), a taxi stand and turn in for the hotel, a vendor with drive thru on Wardlaw with parkade connected possibly all the way from Wardlaw to Gertrude would be rather amazing.
I know parking is a dirty word here but look behind Osborne Street on the hotel side and see the scrubby parking now there. It aint pretty but it is used by people working in the area or going to shops and restaurants.
But what to do with Number 4 Fire Hall?
|The old Esso Station at 425 Osborne|
The abandoned Esso station at 425 Osborne might be a good bet if still available.
|425 Osborne beside Winnipeg Transit Garage|
|Massive Transit Garage...back is connected to Rapid Transit|
Okay, am I being pie in the sky here or is this doable? I know no one wants to talk fire halls but giving up that corner lot could be lucrative for the city.
At the moment, we have an old hotel and and old fire hall in the Osborne Village. It would be a shame if the hotel closes and the city was caught flatfooted.
Moving the fire hall could trigger a huge project as well as locating fire service to an area that makes so much sense in a logistical way for the entire city.