A group of investors is preparing to make a pitch to breathe new life into one of the most recognizable buildings in Manitoba.
The Hudson’s Bay flagship Winnipeg location on Portage Avenue has been a growing source of frustration for the retailer because it required less and less of the six storeys for its merchandise yet was unable to find another suitor – any suitor – to take on any of the space.
The 650,000-square-foot building was built in 1926.
The Hudson’s Bay building in downtown Vancouver is currently being marketed for sale and partly converted into WeWork shared office space.
Hudson’s Bay also sold its Lord & Taylor building in New York City for US$850 million and at least part of that complex will be converted into Wework office space. Wework has also leased space in the Bay’s Toronto flagship store.
But it appears plans are different in Winnipeg.
Winn Adair, a commercial realtor with Sutton Group Kilkenny in Winnipeg, is quarterbacking a group that has raised more than $20 million to revitalize the heritage building.
“We want to do more than buy the building. We want to turn it into a community. We want to get more shops in there and also mix in some residential. We’d like to put a restaurant back in as well as the grocery store in the basement,” she said.
One possibility is building a tower on top of the existing structure, which could house up to 30 condominiums.
Adair wasn’t in a position to reveal the names of the investors but said they’re a mix of local, national and international buyers.
“As Winnipeg approaches one million people in population, now is the perfect time to invest in downtown. [Prices] will jump up per square foot once we reach that mark. I want my guys to be in on the ground floor,” she said.
Adair said she would be presenting Hudson’s Bay with their offer shortly.