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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 11:56 PM
buzzg buzzg is offline
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Originally Posted by biguc View Post
Some of you have floated the idea of putting a grocery store into Portage Place. If anyone is interested in running one, that would be a fine idea for the back (along the Promenade) of the ground floor. Otherwise, I would turn those spaces, and the central corridor into offices, along with the back second floor retail spaces. The retail spaces on the front of Portage Place would turn around to face the street, with a walkway along the second floor to generate some retail intensity on the stretch.


This is exactly what I've been saying for a while. Let the parts that don't help activate streetfronts become office, the main corridor becomes just the access to those offices, close off the main floor retail to the mall side (employee access only; they've cited too much theft with 2 doors) and have it all face the street. Second floor can be more open as it's still the skywalk connection.

The great thing with doing that to the main floor too is that it would be fairly cheap. Drywall the back (mall side) of the stores, the street entrances are already there.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2016, 12:34 AM
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The back of that mall from Edmonton/Ellice to the back doorway is dealer central.
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  #23  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2016, 3:39 AM
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Downtown malls across the country have seen significant dollars invested in them (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary...). Hamilton's City Centre Mall has fared better thanks to the cluster of it with Jackson Square, etc. The owners of Portage Place need a vision, and I do not know if they are formulating one, but they should.
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  #24  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2016, 4:13 PM
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Originally Posted by biguc View Post
Portage Place's one asset is that it's a substantial office building above its two retail floors.
It isn't so much the office build that is the "asset" as it is the parking below the mall. With that in mind, I have an interesting suggestion -- leave the street fronting retail, change it to streetside instead of mall side, covert the second floor on the Portage side to office space then covert the Ellice side of the first and second floor to additional parking space.

The reality of the downtown office market is smaller, four (or less) story buildings like Portage Place has a challenge finding tenants and it will only get worse once True North Square, SkyCity and 300 Main push more space into the market.
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  #25  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2016, 4:17 PM
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^ Interesting theory, but isn't PP pretty much fully leased when it comes to office space, to the point where they're adding more office space by the year? It can't be that dire.
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  #26  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2016, 9:46 PM
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^^ Portage Place does not have a lot of office space. It is basically Edmonton to Vaughan, two floors, and front half of the mall only. There are some offices on the second floor now in what used to retail space. I would imagine they are not demanding a premium on space like 201 Portage might. As higher quality spaces open once the new buildings come online there will be downward pressure on the market that is going to force some players out. Parking on the other hand is going to be a growing market in downtown in the coming years. Sure SkyCity and True North Square include some parking but is it just replacing the parking those developments will take off the market? How much will be for tenants only? How much increased demand will those developments create? Lots at play there. The design of Portage Place would also suggest an opportunity to use Edmonton street to the north as an entrance/exit from the parking conversion.

Ultimately it comes down to revenue per square foot regardless of use. I think if Portage Place is seriously considering exiting retail there is a strong case to be made for a parking conversion of at least some of the retail space.
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  #27  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 12:55 AM
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3 things Cory,

1. Like Tacheguy noted, FNP owns the underground parking, not Cadillac Fairview. Hence, parking can't be an asset for Cadillac Fairview.

2. Do you know how much office space Portage Place actually has? You may quibble over how much office space is "a lot" but it has a lot more office space than any failing suburban mall.

3. "Parking on the other hand is going to be a growing market in downtown in the coming years". If everything that was true about the world now was the same as it was from 1920-2010, this would be an accurate statement. But given current trends away from personal car ownership--including the coming proliferation of automated cars--parking will soon become a shrinking market.

Developers are hedging their bets on parking structures in markets as similarly dumpy as Winnipeg, like Cincinnati.

http://www.urbancincy.com/2016/10/mo...rking-garages/

This Wired article explains why building conventional parking structures will present problems in a future where people wish to reuse that space.

https://www.wired.com/2016/11/time-t...rking-garages/

So, given that likely outcome in a 10-15 year timeframe, and Winnipeg's current low parking rates, converting space to parking is a tough call. Portage Place doesn't have the widespread vacancy that would call for widespread reuse. And like you said, it comes down to revenue per square foot. PP's current office vacancies are looking for $2-4 and change per square foot. They're not going to make that much off a dozen parking spots.
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  #28  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 1:34 AM
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Cadillac Fairview has not been involved with the retail part Portage Place for years. Its now currently owned by a BC based company called Peterson Operations Management
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  #29  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 8:57 AM
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Parking on the other hand is going to be a growing market in downtown in the coming years.
That is a tough one to call in Winnipeg to be completely honest.... A lot of factors influencing that one there. Winnipeg won't have to worry about parking in downtown if they keep building these distant box-store malls all around the suburbs, as no one will be driving into the city except to maybe work (and even then these suburbs are sprouting tons of office parks).

I agree with what biguc just posted regarding parking, especially when it comes to Portage Place. I don't think that parking options is going to get people to come to the mall when they have Polo Park or the newly opening Seasons of Tuxedo (which by the way, is a project that is more parking lot than actual retail structure).
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  #30  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 3:49 PM
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Winnipeg won't have to worry about parking in downtown if they keep building these distant box-store malls all around the suburbs, as no one will be driving into the city except to maybe work (and even then these suburbs are sprouting tons of office parks).

I agree with what biguc just posted regarding parking, especially when it comes to Portage Place. I don't think that parking options is going to get people to come to the mall when they have Polo Park or the newly opening Seasons of Tuxedo (which by the way, is a project that is more parking lot than actual retail structure).
When Hydro built their giant office tower near Portage Place they had all these idealized plans about how staff would get there. End of the day parking became a huge issue for them to the point they paid to have the CityPlace basement converted to parking for their exclusive use. This in turn pushed out MPI from the space leading to them actually buying the building and several related surface lots.

The projection on True North Square seems to suggest a similar crunch on parking in the area is on the horizon again. If Portage Place got their plan together they could be positioned to capitalize on it.

In terms of parking downtown, go to the area on an event night at MTS Centre like when the Jets play and then tell me if you still think people only come downtown for work.

In terms of "parking won't bring people to the Portage Place mall that is actually the point -- nothing will bring them to the mall so get rid of it. It is about revenue per square foot and what has the highest potential on a return: retail, office (commercial) or parking. My bet is if the cost-benefits analysis was done parking would win that race.

In terms of the office space there, yes it has more space than a suburban mall but the space would be about the same as the Sterling Building which has struggled to find tenants. Adding more office space at a time there is already more office space downtown than there is demand is just going to further push rates downmarket.

The closing thought is that while FNP controls the underground parking at Portage Place which is highly profitable, doing a conversion of the mall space to parking would allow the owner of that property to start dipping their toes into the lucrative downtown parking market.
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  #31  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 4:14 PM
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^ Now that you mention it, there is a fair bit more going on in that part of downtown as compared to 15 years ago, but with very little more new parking. The Centrepoint parkade is about the only substantial new parkade I can think of, and a few minor new ones that aren't really publicly accessible like the handful of executive spots under Hydro and the Cityplace underground lot.

But is it even realistic to imagine Portage Place being converted to parking? I would imagine that the engineering that goes into a parkade is vastly different from a retail mall... it's hard to imagine that the immense cost of doing something like that would be cheaper than just building a new parkade on the surrounding vacant lots. You build a new parkade on the land just north of Edmonton Court, and you have new parking that suddenly also makes your office space more desirable.
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  #32  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 4:27 PM
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portage place suffers the same fate as a large chunk of winnipeg and manitoba has.. lack of vision and a proper plan status quo hoopla...
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  #33  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 7:43 PM
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If they were somehow able to repurpose the imax or globe cinemas into a homesense/winners that would probably drive traffic into that place.. one can dream! With the investments going on close by to the mall, I'm hoping someone is kicking the tires on the feasibility of all the empty space in there!
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  #34  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 8:00 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
You build a new parkade on the land just north of Edmonton Court, and you have new parking that suddenly also makes your office space more desirable.
I really feel the issue with Portage Place office space, even if you did a full on conversion outside of the food court and third floor theaters which would cost more the total available square footage is too small to pull in tenants willing to pay a premium. I am not an expert on building classifications but I would guess the absolutely best case is it would a high end class B building. The challenge is the market is going to get flooded with class A space in the next year or two and its going to have incredible downmarket pressure on everyone that isn't offering brand new class A space. If you were renting office space and your choices were: a nearly renovated floor 10 or more stories up at 201 Portage Ave or the Ellice side of Portage Place mall on the second floor overlooking what is basically an alleyway which one are you going to choose?
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  #35  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 8:22 PM
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^ I don't think 201 Portage and Portage Place are chasing the same tenant at all, though... look who's in Portage Place's office levels... nonprofits and IG overflow. The new office spaces are also either nonprofits/governmental agencies, and a call centre. Portage Place basically offers reasonably modern Class B space at (presumably) attractively low rates.

To do a parking retrofit is basically taking on a massive capital expense that eliminates a pile of office space when it's not needed in the first place... there is plenty of land surrounding Portage Place that can be used for parking. If anything it would probably cost less to build new, and it would have the added bonus of making the existing office space that much more attractive.

As to the empty 3rd floor spaces, I don't think there is any hope of a big box store setting up in there. That area is just too far off the beaten path when it comes to pedestrian foot traffic. Who knows what will eventually end up there... perhaps the Famous Players could have become a gym, but having Snap down the road on Portage more or less eliminates that possibility. IMAX is probably too customized to be readapted without a massive expense.
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  #36  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2016, 11:01 PM
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^^ The challenge is 201 Portage already has some decent sized spaces available and that is before the whole tenant shuffle to True North Square starts. True North Square is bring a sizable mount of new office space on the market but demand is fairly stagnant. The stories have already been out for a few years that some tenants have found when their class B leases come up for renewal the ask to stay put is actually higher than moving to a class A space like 201 Portage. Downtown Winnipeg office space has definitely shifted to a buyers market. That is why the suggestion that Portage Place further get into that market seems ill timed to me. Once the newer spaces like True North Square come online a 30 year old class B space like Portage Place is going to become even more undesirable.

I also don't think that Portage Place itself is hurting for parking for its own tenants. One sure sign would be if they started limiting monthly parking to only tenants. But as was mentioned earlier on this thread Portage Place does not directly control the parking they sit on. Similar to the idea of building on the surface lot, they likely do not control that property.
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  #37  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2016, 1:23 AM
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Every downtown issue we like this we tend to get stuck on always seems to come back to the same problem: lack of other viable transit options. Again, if we had a proper/better transit system that made taking public transit a lot easier/better/more reliable for the current non-transit commuters, this conversation would be different. If it actually made sense for most people to take transit over their car, many would. But in it's current state — it just doesn't make sense for a lot of people.

If it was easier and faster to get in and out of downtown via some other form of transportation (AT, RT), we would have a lot less cars and congestion downtown.
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  #38  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2016, 3:12 AM
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Originally Posted by buzzg View Post
Every downtown issue we like this we tend to get stuck on always seems to come back to the same problem: lack of other viable transit options. Again, if we had a proper/better transit system that made taking public transit a lot easier/better/more reliable for the current non-transit commuters, this conversation would be different. If it actually made sense for most people to take transit over their car, many would. But in it's current state — it just doesn't make sense for a lot of people.

If it was easier and faster to get in and out of downtown via some other form of transportation (AT, RT), we would have a lot less cars and congestion downtown.
I'd love to see light rail with underground stations through downtown
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  #39  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2016, 8:35 PM
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Change to title of thread on suggestion from fellow poster to reflect actual name of the center being discussed...
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  #40  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2016, 9:24 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzg View Post
Every downtown issue we like this we tend to get stuck on always seems to come back to the same problem: lack of other viable transit options. Again, if we had a proper/better transit system that made taking public transit a lot easier/better/more reliable for the current non-transit commuters, this conversation would be different. If it actually made sense for most people to take transit over their car, many would. But in it's current state — it just doesn't make sense for a lot of people.

If it was easier and faster to get in and out of downtown via some other form of transportation (AT, RT), we would have a lot less cars and congestion downtown.
I agree. I don't mean to detract this thread any further but Winnipeg seems to be the only city in Canada approaching 1 million that is talking about more parking in downtown.

I would like to think of Portage Place Mall as having a similar potential to Toronto's Eaton Centre. Both malls are located in the centre of large cities, and both malls have to accommodate for the needs of the downtown. I think that redeveloping the Portage Place Mall is a little short-sighted. Especially when the Bay, Graham Street, and the True North development are a stone's throw away; I see potential in developing an urban shopping district. I don't mean to say that parking shouldn't be considered but I definitely don't think that it's the answer.

Just brainstorming outloud here....
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