20-storey mixed-use tower in Winnipeg will house new ALT Hotel and Stantec headquarters

CentreVenture Development Corporation have announced the details of a major real estate development project in the heart of the Sports Hospitality Entertainment District in Winnipeg. Located on Portage Avenue, this important project will be jointly developed by Longboat Development Corporation and Groupe Germain Hospitality. The building, covering 200,000 square feet and over 20 storeys, will house the province’s first ALT Hotel and the headquarters of Stantec’s Winnipeg office, a Canadian-based professional consulting company. This is the first private investment in several decades in this part of the city, and will significantly contribute to the revitalization.

“Downtown Winnipeg’s historic comeback as an exciting destination for Manitoba families and visitors alike is in full swing,” said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger. “This major private investment next to the home of the reborn Winnipeg Jets demonstrates the kind of private-sector confidence that results when governments, agencies and community partners work together toward a shared vision of renewal.”

“I am proud, as Mayor of Winnipeg, that the City has created the climate that attracts major private investment critical to revitalizing our city’s downtown,” said Mayor Sam Katz. “This key location, as a rejuvenated hospitality and commercial development, is a catalyst to returning Portage Avenue to the vibrant hub it once was and I commend CentreVenture for their dedication to ensuring this development became a reality.”

Stantec will provide full architecture and engineering services to design the mixed-use tower. As an anchor tenant, Stantec will bring over 250 employees to the new Stantec Building when it opens in 2013. The project includes restoration and reuse of the Mitchell-Copp building’s historic façade. It will form an important part of the new development’s character and serve as the main entrance to the office component.

The 200,000-square-foot project will incorporate a new 20-storey tower where Groupe Germain Inc. will operate their ALT Hotel brand with 154 rooms on the upper 12 floors. The main floor will be retail and restaurant space, and offices on floors two to six, with Stantec occupying over half the available area.

“Getting control of the former A&B Sound building was critical to our ability to advance the Portage Avenue Strategy,” said Ross McGowan, President and CEO of CentreVenture. “In collaboration with the Forks North Portage Partnership, we were able to consolidate this site with the Mitchell-Copp building. The assembly of the two properties created a site large enough for a significant development and we are ecstatic that Longboat Development Corporation (LDC) stepped to the plate with a redevelopment plan. We believe the confidence LDC and ALT Hotels have in the downtown is just the tip of the iceberg and we will see increasing private-sector investment in the downtown as a result of this bold development statement.”

“We are great believers in the rejuvenation of Winnipeg’s downtown and the vision CentreVenture is creating for the SHED district in particular,” according to Jeoff Chipman, President and CEO of The Stevenson Group, which includes Longboat Development Corp. “We realize that Portage Avenue is the ‘face’ of our downtown and a major initiative for this project is to focus an entire new, vibrant level of activity to the corner of Portage and Donald. Longboat has invested substantial time and effort on the project and we will continue to push forward to bring the building image unveiled here today to reality. We’re confident this can be the all-important first step in the creation of the SHED district.”

Working with ANIM (Manitoba’s bilingual trade agency), Yes Winnipeg! facilitated the connection between CentreVenture and the Quebec-based Groupe Germain Hospitality. The ALT brand is a refreshing alternative hotel experience, developed by the Germain family, pioneers of the boutique-hotel concept in Canada. This leading-edge company attracts business and leisure travelers, combining comfort and innovation with a unique pricing strategy. In short, ALT means a unique alternative to conventional hotels, at an accessible price with easy access to transportation, services, businesses and recreation.

“We’re thrilled too be taking part in this important project in Winnipeg. It is a perfect fit for the development strategy of our ALT Hotel banner in Canada. We have met people in Winnipeg whose drive and enthusiasm are contagious. The project we’re participating in will definitely make this part of the city a lively neighbourhood,” said Jean-Yves Germain, co-president of Groupe Germain Hospitality.

“We believe in Winnipeg and the future of downtown, so we’re investing our company and our people into this space and creating a sustainable home for our business,” says Eric Wiens, Stantec Manitoba Vice President. “This facility also lets us showcase who we are and what we do. Our team will be involved in the building’s creation, from architecture and engineering, to project management, environmental sciences and archaeology. Stantec is a catalyst for the SHED district and we look forward to helping to shape a new vision for Winnipeg’s downtown, and the city as a whole.”

CentreVenture Development Corporation was created in June 1999 as an arms-length agency of the City of Winnipeg. CentreVenture’s mandate is to stimulate downtown revitalization by creating an environment for private-sector businesses and government to work together and to promote the downtown to investors, businesses and residents. CentreVenture serves as an advocate and a leader for downtown in promoting development by identifying opportunities, creating partnerships, forming innovative improvement strategies, providing information, and by serving as an accessible conduit to support initiatives.

A family-owned Quebec company, Groupe Germain owns and operates five Le Germain boutique hotels – in Quebec City, Montreal, two in Toronto and Calgary – as well as two “no-frills chic” ALT Hotels in Montreal’s Quartier DIX30 and Quebec City. A third ALT property is currently under construction at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.