Portage Place to be transformed into health centre, affordable housing

A new health-care centre will be built at the site of Portage Place.

Premier Wab Kinew made the announcement Friday morning, saying the province will be partnering with True North Real Estate Development and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) to create the Health-Care Centre of Excellence.

“What it does is it meets many of the needs that we have to make our city, our downtown, our province that great shining beacon of light that we want it to be for the future,” Kinew said.

“We want better health care in Manitoba. We want to revitalize downtown, we want to save Portage Place, we want to ensure the long-standing financial viability of the assets we have downtown, not least of all, the people who bring downtown to life.”

The development will include primary care physicians, dialysis beds, mental health and addiction support services, and an expansion of the Pan Am Clinic.

“All of this is going to help reduce wait times throughout the city and help get folks the health care that they need, when they need it,” said Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara.

Construction on the new space is expected to begin in 2025, with the centre opening in 2028.

Downtown housing

During the announcement, it was also revealed that SCO and True North have entered into a letter of intent to partner on the ownership of a 15-storey multi-family tower that would be built on the west pad of Portage Place.

The space would have affordable housing units, a full-scale grocery store, neighbourhood services and urban green spaces, according to a news release. The space would also connect to the development ongoing at the former Hudson’s Bay Building.

“This partnership will also provide mechanisms over time for SCO to acquire True North’s interests and ascend to full ownership of this multi-family asset, and control of the housing inventory and program for their downtown community,” said Jim Ludlow, president of True North Real Estate Development.

SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said the plan is a form of economic reconciliation.

“Winnipeg has immense potential,” he said. “Working together, SCO, True North and our partners can help create a thriving downtown.”

Construction will begin in 2025 and is expected to be finished by 2026.

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