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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 8:41 PM
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Downtown Winnipeg Bay store what to do with it?

Downtown Bay store now listed as less than zero dollars in property value? With it being deemed a heritage building and the amount of money required to bring it up to code and the University of Winnipeg saying they are done expanding not sure what can be done with the property?

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/bu...565245762.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 8:52 PM
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I just posted this in the retail thread, but it is probably better here:

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The article is pretty lazy IMO.

They have a few people quoted (anonymously) that the building needs to get demo'd or that the giant floor plates aren't redevelop-able, lack of windows, mechanical systems are the shits...

Well duh. I think anyone with a few brain cells bouncing between their heads would realize that the building would need all manner of modern upgrades in any redevelopment scheme. And no one is going to redevelop that building with the current floor plates intact.

The only real items of significance in terms of the building are it's size and the exterior facades. The building floor area will need to get reduced, and the exterior facade will need to stay intact.

I think we all know what that ultimately means. It's just too bad that the "reporter" in this case couldn't have talked to anyone who (judging by the quotes in the article) isn't some near-retiree taking a brief pause from yelling at the clouds.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 8:52 PM
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Some innovative and sustainable redevelopment is probably needed. It's heritage building so not sure if redevelopment can be done. Can't just do "whatever" with it
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 8:57 PM
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I don't know what the costs would be, but like what has been done in other cities with grand old buildings, it can be converted to a boutique hotel with possible mixed-use on the lower levels.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:00 PM
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I think the preferred idea of being a higher education building for uofw or red river is over with them being pretty much at their preferred size right now. Either condos or a hotel seem like the only options left for it that I could think of. I have no clue how the bay continues to operate the place as they must be losing tons of money every month on that location.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:15 PM
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I don't understand why we keep talking about what the bay should become and not talking about how to better support the 150,000 square feet of retail that exists in the store today. Even at two floors it is the largest department store operating in Winnipeg.

This article assumes a new buyer. I can probably find a lot of heritage buildings worth less than their renovation costs if you kicked out the current tenants.

Last edited by trueviking; Nov 22, 2019 at 2:42 PM.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thurmas View Post
I think the preferred idea of being a higher education building for uofw or red river is over with them being pretty much at their preferred size right now. Either condos or a hotel seem like the only options left for it that I could think of. I have no clue how the bay continues to operate the place as they must be losing tons of money every month on that location.
They have to pay for the building either way... might as well defray the costs with some sales revenue. I'd wager that it probably still does more business than the St. Vital location. It just seems terrible because of the 5 levels that are shuttered.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:17 PM
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Even at two floors it is the largest department store operating in Winnipeg.
But is it? The Polo Park store has three levels and even if the square footage isn't as big as the two levels operating downtwn, there is wayyyy more inventory at Polo Park.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:25 PM
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^have you been there recently? I was there yesterday and surprised by how busy it was. They have moved a bunch of furniture in and it feels more full. Still run down, but not as bad as it once was.

Polo is 140,000 sf.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
They have to pay for the building either way... might as well defray the costs with some sales revenue. I'd wager that it probably still does more business than the St. Vital location. It just seems terrible because of the 5 levels that are shuttered.
I agree. It's obviously not operating to maximum capacity, but why does any discussion about the bay assume the bay isn't part of it?

Saving the department store is way more important to me than figuring out what to do with the other floors. I would be totally happy with a renovated and active department store on the bottom two floors, even if the other floors were empty. Once it is gone, it is gone. We need to work to keep it.
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trueviking View Post
^have you been there recently? I was there yesterday and surprised by how busy it was. They have moved a bunch of furniture in and it feels more full. Still run down, but not as bad as it once was.

Polo is 140,000 sf.
I do a fair bit of shopping there. It's the only Bay store in town that I visit. It's busy, but I don't get the sense that there's a ton of shopping happening in there as much as there is browsing and lunchtime walks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trueviking View Post
I agree. It's obviously not operating to maximum capacity, but why does any discussion about the bay assume the bay isn't part of it?

Saving the department store is way more important to me than figuring out what to do with the other floors. I would be totally happy with a renovated and active department store on the bottom two floors, even if the other floors were empty. Once it is gone, it is gone. We need to work to keep it.
I take your point, the best case scenario is The Bay continuing to operate in that location. But the trend has been for a slow but steady shrinking of the store and I think people are expecting that to continue to its logical conclusion. In some respects I'm pleasantly surprised that it's still open... I expected it to be closed by now.

I wish they'd open up the basement again, though... it felt like having a Zellers down there when the grocery store was in operation breathed at least a little new life into the place. I'm surprised that it isn't worth anyone's while to put a similar operation in down there.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:41 PM
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Maybe they could make 1 level a save on foods or no frills, keep 2 levels for the bay and the upper 3 floors a mix of offices and student housing? either way it really needs a reno to make that happen and likely wont happen until there is clarity on the future of portage place.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 9:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
I do a fair bit of shopping there. It's the only Bay store in town that I visit. It's busy, but I don't get the sense that there's a ton of shopping happening in there as much as there is browsing and lunchtime walks.



I take your point, the best case scenario is The Bay continuing to operate in that location. But the trend has been for a slow but steady shrinking of the store and I think people are expecting that to continue to its logical conclusion. In some respects I'm pleasantly surprised that it's still open... I expected it to be closed by now.

I wish they'd open up the basement again, though... it felt like having a Zellers down there when the grocery store was in operation breathed at least a little new life into the place. I'm surprised that it isn't worth anyone's while to put a similar operation in down there.
Yeah I agree. I admittedly usually went there during the lunch hour but the Zellers always seemed pretty busy. I'm surprised it's not viable to operate something similar out of the basement.

As for the Bay proper, it does have more selection than it did a few years back when they first dropped the floors. A year or two ago they added a toy section for example that was absent for a long time. But clearly they're putting zero maintenance into the place. The escalator down to the main level from 2 has been unoperational for many years.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trueviking View Post
I don't understand why we keep talking about what the bay should become and not talking about how to better support the 150,000 square feet of retail that exists in the store today. Even at two floors it is the largest department store operating in Winnipeg.
First Hudson Bay at Polo Park is 212,086 square feet which would make it larger than the downtown location. The Sears at Polo Park was even larger but it is no longer open.

Hudson Bay as a brand has decidedly moved up market into near luxury retail space while the Winnipeg locations have dragged behind. This means if you go to local locations, with the downtown one being the worst, that is a fairly good chance what you are looking for won't be there unless you are looking for some out of style, low quality private labeled shelf filler.

The best course of action is the mothball the place for four years then give a massive handout to a local millionaire to convert the former department store into a new facility for a local pro sports team.

Last edited by CoryB; Nov 22, 2019 at 4:15 PM.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 11:33 PM
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A Globe & Mail article from way back on November 28, 2017, talking about just this issue:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/repo...ticle37099521/

Probably not any new ideas here, but it stresses the need to get multiple players involved in something this big.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 3:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
I wish they'd open up the basement again, though... it felt like having a Zellers down there when the grocery store was in operation breathed at least a little new life into the place. I'm surprised that it isn't worth anyone's while to put a similar operation in down there.
I totally agree. That was a killer. Was a great amenity for downtown and would probably still be buzzing. We debate all the time that a grocer would never work downtown but that one was successful and would still be there if not for the Target debacle. A real shame.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 3:20 AM
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@coryB. You’re correct. 212,000 sf. Thanks for the clarification. My bad.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 2:49 PM
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Given the Bay's size and the fact that it simply isn't feasible to be fully used by one tenant, it would be great if somehow the building could divided in to multiple spaces so that many small businesses could choose to operating in the building. Much like the Pop-up Shop program that allowed small businesses to have access to cheap-ish storefronts downtown, it would be an excellent public good to have a large building with flexible spaces that could be occupied by smaller businesses looking to test the market.

Given the large parkade next to the building, perhaps it could be suited for a small grocer with room to expand as the neighboring population expands. Maybe having a mixed use and updated heritage structure would be great for the area?

It would be great to see a private or public entity purchase the structure for next to nothing and invest significant capital to open up the middle as a court yard and add windows, divide every floor into flexible spaces that could accommodate small or medium scale retail or offices, and then lease back some of the space to the Bay.

I know this is probably a far-fetched question, but does anyone know the maintenance and utility costs for operating the Bay, along with the estimated cost of doing a proper renovation including opening up the middle? I'd imagine that it's likely financially unfeasible since there is next to no interest in doing anything with this structure by anyone.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 3:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnipegger View Post
Given the Bay's size and the fact that it simply isn't feasible to be fully used by one tenant, it would be great if somehow the building could divided in to multiple spaces so that many small businesses could choose to operating in the building. Much like the Pop-up Shop program that allowed small businesses to have access to cheap-ish storefronts downtown, it would be an excellent public good to have a large building with flexible spaces that could be occupied by smaller businesses looking to test the market.

Given the large parkade next to the building, perhaps it could be suited for a small grocer with room to expand as the neighboring population expands. Maybe having a mixed use and updated heritage structure would be great for the area?

It would be great to see a private or public entity purchase the structure for next to nothing and invest significant capital to open up the middle as a court yard and add windows, divide every floor into flexible spaces that could accommodate small or medium scale retail or offices, and then lease back some of the space to the Bay.

I know this is probably a far-fetched question, but does anyone know the maintenance and utility costs for operating the Bay, along with the estimated cost of doing a proper renovation including opening up the middle? I'd imagine that it's likely financially unfeasible since there is next to no interest in doing anything with this structure by anyone.
I think long term, the only reasonable approach for a re-use of this building is to hollow out the interior.

It would benefit a few ways by reducing the floor area, making the floor area that is available more tenant friendly (i.e. windows), reduce the amount of interior space that requires conditioning (i.e. mechanical costs).

Once the Bay (inevitably) leaves this building, it will need to be completely gutted and redone regardless of who comes in after.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 3:47 PM
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I always thought the Saskatoon model was appealing, basically go condo with it with the hollowed out floors.

Office space would still be preferable for a building like that, though. I wonder if Skip the Dishes seriously looked at it? At first blush it looks perfect for a giant tech cube farm.
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