A downtown Winnipeg property shrouded in political controversy has a new owner.
The Medical Arts Building, an underused 15-storey structure, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed price. Sources say a Toronto-based company is the buyer and it plans to turn it into an apartment building. It currently has about three-dozen tenants and a vacancy rate of about 50 per cent.
The building was slated to be the new home of Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MLL) by the former NDP government, but those plans were scrapped a few months after Brian Pallister and the Progressive Conservatives won the spring 2016 election.
The new MLL board, which was appointed by the new government, decided the Crown corporation should get out of the real estate business.
Andrea Kowal, MLL’s director of corporate affairs, confirmed an “unconditional” deal for the properties has been struck and is expected to close in late June.
MLL’s list price was $16 million, more than double the $7.9 million it paid when it bought the property in the fall of 2015.
At the time, MLL predicted consolidating its nearly 400 employees from five different sites around town would save $23 million over 20 years and provide a boost to the central business district and the provincial economy.
MLL had spent about $2.4 million over several months in initial renovations and had planned to spend up to $74 million to both renovate and expand the building.