Winnipeg’s old Comics building remade

Architect owner embarks on seven-figure retail makeover 1954-era landmark

Western Investor
May 19, 2016


When George Cibinel had the chance to buy a building in Winnipeg’s swanky River Heights neighbourhood, there was no question about who was going to design the renovation.

Cibinel is, after all, an architect.

Cibinel Architects, a firm with 15 people, has purchased the former home of Comics America, a 7,000-square-foot building on Academy Road.

The seven-figure investment includes the purchase price plus gutting and overhauling the entire building.

Cibinel plans to operate out of half of the space and lease out other subdivided spaces with street frontage.

“We want to create unique work areas and a courtyard for the staff and really put our own design talents to a space that we live in and work in. Some of us are here every day and every evenings. That’s the industry we’re in,” he said.

Cibinel got possession of the property in April, and construction has already started. The plan is for his team to move in by mid-July.

A pair of start-ups, a men’s and women’s clothing store and a home decorations retailer have already signed, leaving one retail space of another 1,200 square feet to fill. The retailers will open their doors in mid-summer.

The building, erected in 1954, was originally home to National Studio, which did school photography, and then the Bank of Montreal. Comics America decided to sell the property after 15 years because its bricks-and- mortar business had been long surpassed by its online sales.

Geoff has been a contributor to Western Investor for 15 years. He is also a senior business reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, covering real estate and financial services. Geoff plays competitive tennis at a national level in the senior ranks and is an amateur boxer and hockey player. His favourite Star Wars character is Yoda.
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