Downtown Investment Unprecedented – New Institute of Urban Studies Analysis

Jino Distasio, Director of IUS and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation at UWinnipeg

Jino Distasio, Director of IUS and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation at UWinnipeg

WINNIPEG, MB – New analysis and a unique mapping project conducted by The University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) concludes that over the last eight years, Winnipeg’s downtown has been on a rapid upswing with investment eclipsing an estimated $2 billion dollars in over 100 projects. With 24,000 students attending classes and 1772 new residential units having been added (with a further 646 proposed), the period, 2005 to 2013, marks a stunning shift from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, which were characterized by slow growth, increased vacancies and a suburbanization of our downtown retail landscape. What has changed? Where is investment heading?

The IUS In-Brief explored these questions by visually exploring the changes that have taken place during this frenzied period of development. The mapping of this activity is striking and gives strong representation of the diversity of development occurring that is helping to reinvent the look and feel of the downtown.

Jino Distasio, Director of IUS and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation at UWinnipeg

Jino Distasio, Director of IUS and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation at UWinnipeg

“We have not seen this level of downtown investment and development in perhaps a century,” said Jino Distasio, Director of IUS and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation at UWinnipeg.”What is most striking is the balanced mix of private and public sector investment, the mix of heritage building redevelopments and new construction, and the powerful clusters that are redefining downtown as a destination for education, events and conferences, and hospitality.”

The report indicates that the growth of UWinnipeg’s  student population,  plus Red River College’s presence in the Exchange District  and a dozen other smaller downtown schools, now means over 24,000 students have become a substantial economic force in the downtown.

“We are honoured to anchor the educational cluster downtown, with almost a half-million square feet of new development and more than $150 million invested in the past eight years, and more to come as our UNITED Health and RecPlex takes shape,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor,UWinnipeg. ”Just as importantly, collectively we are creating an intellectual and creative hub that attracts and nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship. That is the heart of downtown revitalization.”

The IUS map pinpoints 106 projects (worth at least $500,000 each) and over $2 billion invested, concentrated in a few key areas. One would have to look back to Winnipeg’s boom period that ended in the 1920’s to find a comparable level of development. With well over 100 new investments and 30 proposed projects still to come on board, Winnipeg’s downtown is fast becoming a dynamic place supported by a growing population and a range of complementary amenities.

Access the detailed IUS Downtown Winnipeg Development Map and In Brief report at: http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/ius-index

 

The IUS In-Brief series provides new space for thought on urban issues from a variety of perspectives — from academic research to journalistic investigation, from editorial comments to public stories. It is intended to provide concise comment, thought and informed discussion on a range of urban issues. The In-Brief series was launched in October 2012, exploring the successful campaign by Gordon Bell students and supporters to build an outdoor soccer field, The Institute of Urban Studies invites ideas for the In-Brief series at: ius@uwinnipeg.ca.

MEDIA CONTACT

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7130, E: n.ibrahim@uwinnipeg.ca

 

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