Academy Road, located three blocks north of one of the most popular streets in town – Corydon Avenue – is leading a mini-development boom in south Winnipeg.
At the top of the list is the long-time home to Academy Uptown Lanes bowling alley, which is being converted into a multi-use building, including retail, office and 23 condominiums.
Just down the street, a boutique clothing store has been demolished and replaced with a two-storey building that will house retail on the main floor and a physiotherapy clinic on the second storey.
Just a stone’s throw away, men looking for custom-made suits can visit the newly opened Lagioia and Klein Bespoke Tailor Shop and soon they, and everybody else for that matter, will be able to get a beer at Leopold’s Tavern, which is moving into the former home of InFerno’s bistro, which closed in 2018 after a six-year run.
Ron Penner, senior vice-president of operations at Globe Property Management, which owns the nearly 90-year-old former bowling alley, said the plan is to have two commercial units on the main floor, some office space on the second and condos on all three.
Because the building has “heritage” status – it operated as a movie theatre from 1930-60 – Globe is limited in how it can make upgrades.
The capital costs are expected to be in the neighbourhood of $8 million. With construction projected to take 12 to 16 months once it starts later this year, tenants could move in sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.
The owners of Leopold’s Tavern are confident it can succeed in the long run in the same 3,400-square-foot location where a couple of previous hospitality concepts have failed.
“We like to place our bars in areas that we feel are under-serviced and have a lot of [population]density within walking distance. That fit the bill,” said Matt Pinch, president and CEO of Saskatchewan-based Leo’s Group.
Academy Road may never have the nightlife that Corydon has, and that’s fine with Tom Scott, chair of the Academy Road Business Improvement Zone. “We’re known for high-end traffic,” he said.