Winnipeg Free Press
By: Martin Cash
ANOTHER group of buildings in Winnipeg’s Chinatown has a meeting with the wrecking ball, further transforming the face of the neighbourhood.
A collection of nearly century-old one-storey buildings on the southeast corner of Logan Avenue and Princess Street — across the street from the $12.7-million Peace Tower affordable housing project — has a demolition order from the city.
But potential redevelopment proposals are already in the works.
The half-acre property was acquired about six months ago by CentreVenture, the downtown development agency that also played a key role in the Peace Tower project.
Ross McGowan, CentreVenture’s CEO, said Monday a development plan is in hand and discussions are underway with an interested party.
“We do have a plan (for the buildings), but it’s not public yet,” said McGowan. “It’s complementary to the one across the street. Now you have a little critical mass on the housing side and you begin to spawn a neighbourhood and build a community.”
Ham-N-Eggs Grill on Princess Street, which closed a few months ago, was the last business standing in the 1913-era structure that’s now covered with Rakowski Cartage and Wrecking wire fencing. McGowan said there were city orders to take the buildings down when it agreed to acquire the property.
“They are not safe at all,” McGowan said.
When these buildings come down, the old Shanghai Restaurant about four blocks away may or may not still be standing. It also has been approved for demolition and the Chinatown Development Corp. is raising money to build an assisted-living residence for Asian-Canadian seniors at that location.
Another block south of there, the Salvation Army Citadel and a 108-year-old building at 216 Pacific Ave. — both vacant for more than 20 years — have new owners.
The Free Press has reported that Heritage Winnipeg was not aware of plans for those buildings, but would fight any bid to demolish them.
The city has also made it clear it is not keen on seeing more surface parking lots.
In addition to those changes in the neighbourhood, a four-storey warehouse on the north side of Logan a block west of Princess burned to the ground this fall.