Sometimes you just need to quit looking for the bad and celebrate the good.
True North Square is an important step in the growth of our downtown. Four new towers will be built including a signature hotel between MTS Centre and RBC Convention Centre. It will be accessible to Winnipeggers in design and function – a people place with a video wall to bring us together and maybe a long NHL playoff run celebration.
The deal is a partnership between True North Sports and Entertainment and James Richardson and Sons. Two important Winnipeg families: the Chipmans and Richardsons, two families that believe in this city.
This is not philanthropy. This is business driven by a core philosophy that if you built it, they will come. True North will certainly be looking for Winnipeg and non-Winnipeg businesses to locate in the development. Scotiabank, Sutton Place Hotels, law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman and Liquor Marts have signed on with others in the works.
Three important questions:
- Will this mean Portage and Main businesses will move west to True North? Some will. It could force those owners to upgrade and even embrace the idea of opening up the intersection to pedestrians.
- What will happen to the Hudson’s Bay building at Portage and Memorial? The retailer has been patient but sooner rather than later a group of investors will emerge to redevelop the building into a mix of residential, offices and retail. Hopefully enough momentum will emerge along Graham Avenue to spur private development including other residential projects in the area.
- What about Portage Place? The parking is fine but the mall needs a major makeover – likely a strategy that brings more offices to the space. This will be a challenge as more retailers may end up heading south of Portage.