Council endorses sale of Portage Place with unanimous vote
The City of Winnipeg has signed off on a deal to sell Portage Place Shopping Centre.
"I think it's fair to say that Portage Place as an entity is underperforming when you take a look at the rest of the downtown," said Coun. Scott Gillingham.
In a unanimous vote, Winnipeg city council agreed to a transaction that would see the shopping mall, land and parkade go to Starlight Investments for nearly $70 million.
"It's exciting that there is a proponent that wants to look at redeveloping the Portage Place Shopping Centre with something new and vibrant for our downtown," said Coun. Jeff Browaty.
A city report says the plan could include a mixed-use development with rental housing on top of street level retail and services, with the potential for two towers - one on each end - including student housing.
"I think there could be an opportunity here for positive development, " said Coun. Cindy Gilroy
The deal requires the other levels of government to sign off on the sale.
"As far as Portage Place itself we've all had concerns about it for a long, long time so it’s hard not to welcome the opportunity to see some conversion,” said Premier Brian Pallister.
Not everyone is happy with the deal. Several delegates at council expressed concerns about how fast the deal is being pushed through, what’s going to happen to the mall, and how it will impact the community.
"Portage Place mall is a place where I grew up," said one delegate
"And yeah it's just a mall in people's eyes but to us, it's a meeting place. It's a meeting place for a lot of people too, newcomers," said another delegate.
The city is promising people will have their say on the future and that consultations will be done on what Starlight is proposing for the redevelopment.
"We all want what's best for the local community and for the downtown as a whole," said Mayor Brian Bowman.
Starlight released the following statement:
“We are encouraged that today the City of Winnipeg has provided consent for discussions to continue. There are many hurdles to cross and we are committed to continuing to work with all stakeholders to achieve the best possible outcome. In the coming weeks we will be providing more detail.”