New student housing comes to life
With Government of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg support, UWinnipeg creates more housing options downtown for students and broader community
Construction is now underway at 320 Colony Street on a 14-storey apartment complex that will add more living options in downtown Winnipeg for students, families and individuals. UWinnipeg Commons, a 112,000-square-foot building, will contain 102 apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms. This unique, mixed use complex will offer forty-six apartments with affordable rents for students with families to attend the University of Winnipeg or other post-secondary institutions. 32 of these units will be offered on a rent geared to income basis. The remaining 56 will be offered to the community at large at market rents, 18 of which will be considered premium units.
A ceremony to mark the beginning of construction was held on site today with Premier Greg Selinger; Mohinder Saran, Minister of Housing and Community Development; Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman; UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Annette Trimbee; Kevin Settee, Vice-President, External Affairs, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association; Shawn MacDonald, Regional Vice President Commercial Banking, RBC; and emceeing, UWinnipeg Vice-President, Student Life and Community Renewal Corporation Managing Director, Sherman Kreiner.
The Manitoba government is supporting the $30 million project with a loan guarantee, an operating subsidy from Manitoba Housing for the affordable units and PST tax credits. The project is also benefiting from the joint City of Winnipeg/Province of Manitoba tax increment finance program which provides grant funding equivalent to the property tax increase resulting from the project, worth approximately $2.55 million over 15 years.
“We are pleased to partner with the university to offer an exciting, affordable housing option for students close to campus,” said Premier Selinger. “The students and families who live here will enrich the neighbourhood and provide an economic boost for local businesses.”
The apartment complex graces one of the most iconic corners in downtown Winnipeg, located between the Buhler Centre and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, across from Hudson’s Bay. An attractive outdoor terrace will have added appeal for residents. It will serve as a common area for all residents to enjoy outdoor amenities, including BBQ, children’s play area and lounge space. The building also features indoor amenity space including a smudge room, meeting area and common kitchen.
“I committed to increasing Winnipeg’s downtown population to 20,000 people by developing innovative incentives, like the partnership of this project, which will add needed apartments for students and the community in the heart of our city,” said Mayor Bowman. “I am pleased that the City of Winnipeg is contributing a tax increment financing grant of $1.2 million over 15 years to help make this worthwhile housing project a reality downtown.”
Since 2009, UWinnipeg has added 300 quality, affordable rental units in Winnipeg’s downtown and West End neighbourhoods (McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence has 25 family townhouses and 176 dorm-style accommodations).
“We know that high quality, affordable housing connected to campus is important to our students, especially those who are also parents juggling family life and studies,” said Trimbee. “People who choose to call this home will be steps away from shopping, day care, the arts and theatre, concerts, sports events, lectures and public transit. This new apartment complex serves our broader mission which is to engage with the community and add to the renewal of the downtown core.”
“As the demographics of our campus change, we must ensure that non-traditional learners are supported,” said Peyton Veitch, President, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association.
“This complex will make education more accessible, particularly for students from underrepresented communities.”
The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation is the owner and project developer and will provide property management services. UWCRC also served as the developer of the adjacent Buhler Centre and the recently completed United Health and RecPlex on campus.
“This will be a mixed use development in several innovative ways. It will be mixed income housing and it will reflect a mix of University and community residents,” said Kreiner. “It meets a demand for both student family housing and affordable rental housing in the downtown.”
LM Architectural Group designed the building, and Manshield Construction is the construction manager. Construction financing is being provided by the Royal Bank.
Construction began in February 2015 and is expected to be completed for 2016 fall occupancy. The project will be a Manitoba Hydro Power Smart building. It will also contain an electric car charging station.
To find out more about rental units in the apartment complex visit: http://uwcrc.ca/apartment-rentals
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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: firstname.lastname@example.org