EPC approves True North extension on decision to purchase Portage Place

The potential purchaser of Portage Place Mall has been granted another 90-day extension by the mayor’s inner circle for its decision to buy and redevelop the space.

True North Real Estate Development (TNRED) asked the city’s executive policy committee (EPC) for another 90 days to make a decision on the potential purchase agreement. On Wednesday, EPC approved that extension.

June 30 was the original cut-off date, and True North asked for it to be extended to Sept. 28.

“This is a remarkably complex undertaking that continues to be approached with the greatest of diligence and thought prior to closing. The process, documentation and planning for the purchase of the land, the building and the redevelopment is in an advanced stage of completion and this time period will be well used to finalize agreements, complete reviews and obtain the necessary approvals,” said TNRED President Jim Ludlow in an emailed statement.

The Province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada must approve the extension, as well, as all three levels of government are part of the North Portage Development Corporation (NPDC), which owns the property and parkade.

TNRED is looking at buying the mall from a private owner, along with the property and parkade.

“The scale of this project includes design, engineering and construction, legal, financing and complex health planning, as well as multi-government participation and community consultation,” Ludlow’s statement said.

“We remain confident in our abilities and those of our public partners to successfully completing the final package of materials within this timeline.”

The purchase would include the land, parking, and air rights. The $500-million plan would include building two new towers – one for residential units and the other dedicated to health-care services.

The option agreement for the mall’s sale price is for at least $34.5 million.

True North was previously granted an extension by the council in December, after asking for a six-month extension to begin a second phase of public consultation.

The Manitoba government told CTV News Winnipeg it would be in favour of an extension.

Liberal MP Dan Vandal said he will review the request for an extension, and a decision will be made subsequently.

“Redeveloping Portage Place will not only enhance the aesthetic and functional aspects of the area, but also addresses social challenges by providing affordable housing and essential services,” he said in an emailed statement.

– With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele

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