The Government of Manitoba announced its intention to move forward with True North Real Estate Development (TNRED) in the creation of the Health-Care Centre of Excellence as part of the redevelopment of Portage Place.

The province and TNRED signed a Letter of Intent regarding a 35-year lease agreement for the Health-Care Centre of Excellence to be built in the heart of downtown.

“Winnipeg’s downtown is Manitoba’s downtown and all Manitobans want to be proud of it,” said Premier Wab Kinew. “This project will fundamentally change what our downtown looks and feels like for the better. Our government will do its part by delivering new and improved health-care services that make Portage Place a centre of excellence for clinical care and research that is convenient and accessible for everyone. This is good news for our province.”

The urban renewal of Portage Place will be anchored by a 300,000-sq.-ft, 12-storey Health-Care Centre of Excellence which will add health-care services downtown and make it easier to see a doctor or get specialist care, noted the premier, with key services including a primary-care clinic, mental health and addictions support services, and additional renal dialysis capacity, as well as an expansion of Pan Am Clinic. Construction on the Health-Care Centre of Excellence is planned to begin in 2025, with a target for completion of construction in 2028, noted the premier.

“This project will transform our downtown community, and it will also transform how thousands of Manitobans get the care they need,” said Minister of Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Uzoma Asagwara. “We are thrilled to work in partnership with health-care professionals and True North and Southern Chiefs’ Organization to realize the ambitious vision of this project and make the investments we need to fix health care in our province.”

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Alongside the Health-Care Centre of Excellence, True North’s redevelopment plans for Portage Place and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization’s (SCO) plans to redevelop the former Hudson’s Bay location will transform that section of downtown into a modern campus that connects comprehensive health-care services with affordable and family housing, a full-scale grocery store, neighbourhood services and urban green spaces.

With a key aspect of both projects centred on affordable housing, TNRED and SCO have furthered their December 2023 commitment to accelerating this phase of the redevelopment by entering into a letter of intent regarding shared ownership of a 15-storey multi-family tower with market-leading percentages of affordable and accessible one- two- and three-bedroom units.

(True North Real Estate Development)

“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is pleased to advance our partnership with True North Real Estate Development. This important Portage Place initiative will provide a hub of housing and health that will strengthen our downtown,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization. “Together, we have agreed to principles of shared ownership and key priorities for the multi-family housing tower that will provide much-needed safe, accessible, and affordable housing in downtown Winnipeg with direct connection to our Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project at the former HBC building.”

With an anticipated construction start in 2025 and target completion in 2026, Kinew noted the multi-family tower will anchor the west pad of the Portage Place redevelopment and also provide a physical and symbolic connection to the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project by way of the skywalk bridge connecting the two developments.

“Together, we are putting the needs of Manitobans first through unprecedented partnerships in the areas of both health care and housing,” said Jim Ludlow, president, True North Real Estate Development. “We are grateful for the shared vision and the immense priority and commitment that all levels of government are placing on these community needs in order to materially advance the well-being of our downtown residents and neighbourhoods.”

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Featured image: (Southern Chiefs’ Organization)

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