Friday, May 12, 2023 - Portage Place Shopping Centre in Winnipeg will be redeveloped to make room for a $500- million diverse three-part campus that connects a comprehensive health-care centre, affordable and family housing, a full-scale grocery store, neighbourhood services and urban green spaces, according to a plan presented today by True North Real Estate Development.
Extensive community and stakeholder consultation will be undertaken to reimagine Portage Place. The new complex will include green spaces, a multi-family, affordable and student housing tower, as well as an urban health centre of excellence tower. While sections of the existing structure will be developed in stages, the finished project is planned to be one-third bigger than the current building.
The project will also include over two acres of public and outdoor meeting space, and provide more than 1,000 heated underground parking spaces.
“For decades, Portage Place unintentionally created a barrier between north and south neighbourhoods that make up our downtown,” said Mark Chipman, executive chairman, True North Sports + Entertainment. “Our goal is to transform it into a place that connects neighbourhoods, provides access to badly needed services, and has social and economic impact by building a sense of community mindedness.’’
When complete, the new space will connect communities from the former Hudson Bay Co. building, University of Winnipeg and YMCA, providing everything from physical fitness, child care and community drop-ins, to arts and culture opportunities like Prairie Theatre Exchange.
The Manitoba government will support this transformation by making a long-term commitment to a massive health campus, providing wellness and community services tailored to the neighbourhood and urban population.
“This is a defining moment for Winnipeg and for Manitobans,” said Premier Heather Stefanson. “With this reimagined space we will connect communities by creating an urban ecosystem that serves and connects communities with supportive programs reaching everyone in Winnipeg.”
A major component of the health campus will be a more than $300-million urban centre for health excellence providing clinical as well as educational and research space delivered by Shared Health and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The Pan Am Clinic will expand to become an anchor tenant.
The 30,000-sq.-ft. tower will provide accessible, progressive community urban health-care delivery including:
a primary care clinic to provide quality primary health-care services offered by physicians, nurse practitioners and other regional health-care service providers;
an extended-hours walk-in clinic that will offer an alternative to urgent or emergency care for non-life-threatening health issues that need to be addressed the same day;
supports focused on mental health and addictions; and
a renal dialysis unit that will allow dialysis patients to receive comfort care closer to home.
In addition, the Pan Am Clinic will expand advanced musculoskeletal operations to the more central downtown location providing a leading downtown centre for ambulatory and orthopedic surgery, diagnostics, minor and sports medicine, concussion treatment, casting and pain management.
“This is a progressive urban renewal and health-care project that responds to Winnipeg at a critical time,” Stefanson added. “With the guidance of stakeholders, we will transform downtown Winnipeg offering historic help in health care, community services and make downtown a safe destination for years to come.”
“This is a made-in-Manitoba solution born by listening to people and understanding their needs,” said Jim Ludlow, president, True North Real Estate Development. “This is not a retail play – it is a community play. It is about building with people in mind and we are so excited to enter into the next discussion phase to get feedback on how we might refine it further.”
Over its lifetime, the development is projected to create $698 million in economic activity including $411 million in wages, the premier noted, adding that once complete, ongoing operations would provide $325 million in net GDP contributions annually.
The reimagined Portage Place was driven by listening to community members who identified
four pillars for development including:
neighbourhood spaces and public greenway;
neighbourhood services, culture and arts; and
housing and food security.
The new facility will add critically needed health services to Winnipeg’s downtown and have the
capacity to serve all Manitobans into the future, Stefanson noted, adding the facility will include
new MRI units, CT scan units, X-ray machines and additional surgical suites that would increase
Manitoba’s health-care capacity as the population ages.
“This will be built from the ground up with the needs of the community in mind, providing urban Manitobans better access to health care with wraparound supports for the general population,” said Lanette Siragusa, CEO, Shared Health. “This centre will also play a major role in the city of Winnipeg’s future by providing the ability to expand key services with additional clinical space.”
Engagement with experts, stakeholders and community members will validate key assumptions and build out a detailed plan for the new health-care facility, Stefanson added. “The urban health centre of excellence is will be easily accessible for walk ups, public transit or any other means.”