A new development project could create what may turn out to become the largest urban community in Winnipeg.
Southwood Circle is a project that would be built on the site of the city’s former Southwood Golf and Country Club, with plans to create residential complexes, retail spaces, and facilities that go in tandem with the University of Manitoba.
It’s a project being led by UM Properties GP Inc. — an entity owned by the university. The hope is to create a sustainable community south of the city.
“In many ways, Southwood Circle will be a model community based on what we know makes healthy, vibrant neighbourhoods,” said Greg Rogers, CEO of UM Properties. “That means it’s walkable, it’s diverse, it promotes active living, and it’s sustainable.”
Construction is expected to be completed across three phases, with the first phase beginning next summer. By the end of it, the goal is to build over 11,000 multi-family residential units, while working with 300,000 square feet of retail space, and establishing spaces for researchers and developers — such as the Living Lab Research Consortium.
The planned community would house over 20,000 people while giving way to a future site for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
According to Rogers, the push for the project parallels the city’s traditional path towards growth via suburban development. He said that this way, future residents and families would have access to amenities and services offered at the University of Manitoba as well as everything they need right within their neighbourhood.
He added that the project would involve the development of just over two kilometres of roads connecting residential units and buildings together. The idea is driven by a pedestrian centric approach, limiting the need for personal vehicles.
“What we’re offering is an urban alternative. We’re proposing 11,0000 residential units on 80 acres of net developable land, on top of which there’s another 21 acres of parkland,” said Rogers.
“In this community, you won’t need a car. Not only do we have a place to live and a place to work that you can walk to, within this community there’s going to be grocery (stores), banks, restaurants, (and) even hotels.”
Rogers added that, once completed, the community would be connected to the city’s transit system. City councillor Janice Lukes said that the project would use existing city infrastructure, including sewer and water pipes, roads and transit services.
For her, this project would be beneficial in housing thousands of Manitobans.
“(W)e are heralding a brand-new infill neighbourhood designed for people from all walks of life. This will help us house thousands of people in a bright, welcoming, sustainable environment,” said Lukes.
While the completed project will be available to house anyone, Rogers said that it would provide two benefits to the university — any profits made will flow to the university and it will provide an extension to the university campus, offering additional amenities to students or staff from the university.
The groundbreaking ceremony for Southwood Circle took place on Sept. 20.
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