DOWNTOWN AGENCIES RELEASE TOP 20 DOWNTOWN ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2008
WINNIPEG—While Winnipeggers ring in a New Year, downtown boosters are taking a moment to look back on the year that was and what has been accomplished in the heart of our city in 2008.
Here is the top 20 list, as compiled by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, CentreVenture Development Corporation, The Forks North Portage Partnership and Exchange District BIZ:
Top 20 Downtown Achievements in 2008 (in no particular order)
- The city and province announced the first leg of Rapid Transit will be built.
- The province has introduced the tax increment financing (TIF) bill to quicken and further stimulate more downtown development and revitalization.
- Downtown Housing was declared sold out, with more units to come in 2009. For example, YouCube, a more affordable condo project further north on Waterfront Drive, has units starting below $200,000.
- The $278 million Manitoba Hydro headquarters opened today, welcoming the first of what will be 2,000 employees downtown.
- With the final funding nearly attained, the groundbreaking for the $265 million Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first national museum outside of Ottawa, took place this month.
- The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s new 74,000 square foot head office on Main Street, set to open in June 2009.
- The Winnipeg Police Service committed to installing 10 security cameras on downtown streets in early 2009, and continued commitment to more police patrols downtown.
- The 2008 Tim Hortons Brier and Canadian Country Music Awards together brought an estimated economic impact of $40 million to our city.
- Closing the “W” loop. cityplace will be connected to the Winnipeg Convention Centre and several office towers through skywalks next year after a funding commitment was announced by the three levels of government—and building owners.
- Sod turning of the University of Winnipeg’s $59 million Richardson College for the Science & Environment Complex, among other major campus expansion plans. The U of W also has many other projects, including student housing, underway.
- $4.5 million dollar redevelopment of Central Park
- The Downtown BIZ’s overnight Watch patrol started up this year, and commercial break and enters in the Portage Avenue area (from Graham to Ellice) have gone down 42% in 2008 over 2007.
- The Forks received the Canadian Institute of Planners Vision in Planning Award, the highest honour they bestow, during the CIP conference held this year in Winnipeg.
- The Exchange District Historical Walking Tours broke the all-time attendance record with over 2,800 tour participants.
- The Exchange Patrol program helped reduce crime in the Exchange District to less than 0.5% of all reported crime in the city.
- Phase 1 of Old Market Square and the King Street redevelopment was completed.
- Refreshing of CentrePlan, the city’s guiding document for downtown revitalization..
- The Forks River Trail earned the distinction of having the longest river trail in the world this year.
- In addition to these big projects there have been several small new businesses that opened in the last year. These include Starbucks on the corner of Graham and Kennedy; UMI Sushi in Winnipeg Square; Blue Style, a clothing store on Vaughan; Latin Llama in Portage Place; Sushi 101 and casa burrito, both across from the U of W, and many more. Main Meats, The Neon Factory and Bios all expanded to larger spaces and moved in on Main Street.
- Think downtown is dirty? In typical Winnipeg fashion, we don’t know how good we have it! In recent talks with visitors from Montreal, Portland, New York and others, they consistently said Winnipeg has the cleanest downtown they have ever seen!
And with that, we look forward to another great year in 2009!