Imagine going for a skate before walking across the street to watch the Winnipeg Jets do the same. Then heading back to celebrate a victory with other fans.
That’s part of the vision for a two-acre outdoor public plaza at True North Square.
The city and province are committing $17.6 million through tax increment financing to fund the development of the outdoor space.
“Our commitment today, with the city and the province, is to create world class public space downtown,” Premier Greg Selinger said.
The space will be nestled in between two of the three True North Square buildings near Graham and Carlton. A five-star hotel will be built across the street on the site of the former Carleton Inn.
The plaza is expected to open in 2018.
Some of the options for the plaza include outdoor concerts, movies, beach volleyball and a food truck festival in the summer. In the winter, you could go skating, curling, take a drink at the ice bar, or explore the Christmas Village. There will also be space for a game day party when the Jets play across the street at MTS Centre.
True North’s Jim Ludlow says it will be similar to other major public plazas in other cities.
“If you were in Chicago and went to Millennium Park or Portland and went to Director’s Park, it’s a place where you can come and sit and reflect. There will be some retail spaces. It will be a bit like taking some elements of the Forks into a commercial context,” he said.
The government dollars are coming through tax increment financing. That means taxes collected from the Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment Centre downtown are reinvested into the area, including its public spaces.
The two levels of government may also invest another $9 million through TIF in public spaces like sidewalks around True North Square, between MTS Centre and the Convention Centre. Those funds are subject to council approval.
True North is expected to announce more details about its $400 million dollar development on February 13. So far, we know the three buildings will include office, retail, residential, parking, hotel and entertainment space.