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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2016, 8:50 PM
scryer scryer is offline
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Portage Place Shopping Centre

Let's have a conversation about this mall.

With the addition of the updated convention centre and the ALT hotel, has this mall seen a change in demographics?

From the looks of at some of the projects that have literally finished at the footsteps of the Portage Place Mall, I am wondering if it is time to have this mall finally updated, upgraded, and improved? When I see a development like True North Square Winnipeg, I see a very strong opportunity for the Portage Place Mall to take advantage of a new demographic.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2016, 9:49 PM
optimusREIM optimusREIM is offline
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I think that the portage place people could give themselves a shot in the arm by developing their pad sites with some residential units. So add condos or rentals and a high end grocer and I think it would be a game changer. Imagine 600 units of new residences and a couple of high end destination retailers and it could rejuvenate downtown retail.
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 12:14 AM
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I'm a longtime Portage Place shopper and I have yet to see any kind of bounce within the mall itself. The stores have gradually moved from the high end to the mid range to the low end over the years, which isn't that bad in and of itself but it speaks to low demand for the retail space. What's worse is that substantial parts of the retail area have been converted to office space in recent years.

I'm not sure that this is a problem that condos or apartments can really fix. Think about it, Portage Place opened at the same time as several huge apartment towers just out back on Place Promenade as well as a large office building (One Canada Centre), and now the province's largest office tower is across the street (Hydro). If all of that hasn't established a critical mass of shoppers for the mall, then I'm not sure what difference another building or two will make.

I'd love to see Portage Place bounce back but it just isn't happening. Unlike the larger cities we don't have a population predisposed to shopping downtown, and unlike some smaller cities (like Regina or Saskatoon), we don't have the luxury of having the main mall in the city being situated downtown which more or less forces people to shop there.
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  #4  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 12:33 AM
Tacheguy Tacheguy is offline
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At some point the Jets will need a modern new arena. I think that is when Portage Place comes down. Any other locations spring to mind?
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 1:00 AM
Urban recluse Urban recluse is offline
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I don't think the owners of Portage Place know what they want it to be. The more retail out of the mall with storefronts, the better. The mall is extremely outdated, and I see the decline of retail within becoming greater.
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 2:45 AM
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jmt18325 jmt18325 is offline
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The MTS centre is only 12 years old. It's pretty modern.
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 3:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban recluse View Post
I don't think the owners of Portage Place know what they want it to be. The more retail out of the mall with storefronts, the better. The mall is extremely outdated, and I see the decline of retail within becoming greater.
The landlord is squeezing whatever life is left out of the place by carrying on with retail and gradually converting more and more space to office use. It's clear that the retail function doesn't justify the cost of major renovations... I think Portage Place will eventually become mainly an office building with a few shops on the skywalk and a food court. It's a relatively modern building (not quite 30 years old) that can probably fill that function for at least another 20 years, at which point demolition enters the conversation.

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Originally Posted by jmt18325 View Post
The MTS centre is only 12 years old. It's pretty modern.
Well, in another 20 or 25 years it might be due for replacement knowing the short lifespans of NHL rinks. By that point it's conceivable that it could happen on the site of Portage Place. But Portage Place itself is probably not big enough to make way for a NHL arena... you'd have to take out the Promenade Apartments and possibly some other buildings too, and it would start to become a monumentally expensive project.
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  #8  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 4:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scryer View Post
Let's have a conversation about this mall.

With the addition of the updated convention centre and the ALT hotel, has this mall seen a change in demographics?

From the looks of at some of the projects that have literally finished at the footsteps of the Portage Place Mall, I am wondering if it is time to have this mall finally updated, upgraded, and improved? When I see a development like True North Square Winnipeg, I see a very strong opportunity for the Portage Place Mall to take advantage of a new demographic.

Thoughts?
You mean different demographic than what it is now of low life's, deadbeats, drug dealers and homeless?
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 6:06 AM
vjose32 vjose32 is offline
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What pad sites?
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  #10  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 6:11 AM
optimusREIM optimusREIM is offline
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Originally Posted by vjose32 View Post
What pad sites?
The mall has, on either end, reinforced pads capable of and designed to accommodate future towers whether they be office or whatever. I believe that the original vision called for residential on those sites
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 12:13 PM
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Lease on portage place land reverts to the city in 2062
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 2:25 PM
Tacheguy Tacheguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optimusREIM View Post
The mall has, on either end, reinforced pads capable of and designed to accommodate future towers whether they be office or whatever. I believe that the original vision called for residential on those sites
that was the vision alright. I think the fly in the ointment is ownership of the underground parking, which is a huge cash cow for fnpp.
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  #13  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 3:19 PM
CoryB CoryB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optimusREIM View Post
I think that the portage place people could give themselves a shot in the arm by developing their pad sites with some residential units. So add condos or rentals and a high end grocer and I think it would be a game changer. Imagine 600 units of new residences and a couple of high end destination retailers and it could rejuvenate downtown retail.
So the original residential that was included with the development, Place Promenade was so successful at attracting high end tenants you think the current owner should bet even harder in that same corner with not only more residential unit but a "high end grocer", the sort of which we really do not have anywhere else in Winnipeg?

Not sure why this needs a separate thread from the Winnipeg retail thread...
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 3:28 PM
optimusREIM optimusREIM is offline
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Originally Posted by CoryB View Post
So the original residential that was included with the development, Place Promenade was so successful at attracting high end tenants you think the current owner should bet even harder in that same corner with not only more residential unit but a "high end grocer", the sort of which we really do not have anywhere else in Winnipeg?

Not sure why this needs a separate thread from the Winnipeg retail thread...
Lol relax it's only wishful thinking. I'd love to see a future where such a proposal could thrive.
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  #15  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 4:14 PM
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What it really boils down to is the fact that Portage Place was built on the faulty assumption that Eaton's and The Bay downtown stores would continue to be thriving destinations for years to come. In reality, Eaton's was in real trouble by the early 90s (they began closing floors in the mid 90s and shut the whole thing down by 1999), and while The Bay has fared a bit better, it has been on a steady but gradual descent for the last few decades. Downtown shopping as it was in the early 80s when Portage Place was conceived and how it is now are two completely different scenarios.

Without those anchors, what's the point of retail at Portage Place? As we're finding out now, there really isn't one. In some ways, turning Portage Place entirely into office space might give the rest of downtown retail a shot in the arm... it might encourage more streetfront locations on Portage, Graham and other downtown avenues.
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 5:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
What it really boils down to is the fact that Portage Place was built on the faulty assumption that Eaton's and The Bay downtown stores would continue to be thriving destinations for years to come. In reality, Eaton's was in real trouble by the early 90s (they began closing floors in the mid 90s and shut the whole thing down by 1999), and while The Bay has fared a bit better, it has been on a steady but gradual descent for the last few decades. Downtown shopping as it was in the early 80s when Portage Place was conceived and how it is now are two completely different scenarios.

Without those anchors, what's the point of retail at Portage Place? As we're finding out now, there really isn't one. In some ways, turning Portage Place entirely into office space might give the rest of downtown retail a shot in the arm... it might encourage more streetfront locations on Portage, Graham and other downtown avenues.
Wouldn't Portage Place be the ideal location for a downtown grocery store?
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 7:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rrskylar View Post
Wouldn't Portage Place be the ideal location for a downtown grocery store?
I would not even want to imagine the shrink that a grocery store would have at Portage Place.

The old Buck or Two discount store on the 2nd floor was said in a 2010 Free Press article to loose $100,000 (One Hundred Thousand) in theft a year.
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 8:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rrskylar View Post
Wouldn't Portage Place be the ideal location for a downtown grocery store?
Maybe once the Quest Inn and Marlborough move away from being SROs.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 8:59 PM
scryer scryer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
What it really boils down to is the fact that Portage Place was built on the faulty assumption that Eaton's and The Bay downtown stores would continue to be thriving destinations for years to come. In reality, Eaton's was in real trouble by the early 90s (they began closing floors in the mid 90s and shut the whole thing down by 1999), and while The Bay has fared a bit better, it has been on a steady but gradual descent for the last few decades. Downtown shopping as it was in the early 80s when Portage Place was conceived and how it is now are two completely different scenarios.
I agree with you but I don't think that the assumption was an empty one as there are plenty of malls in Canada in downtown centres that are still thriving today. I bet the assumption was that Winnipeg would continue to develop its downtown instead of leaving it to decay. I can think of a few examples in Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto to say the least.

However, shopping habits in Winnipeg is very different from other cities. It seems that there is a demand for developing huge swaths of box stores than it is for developing indoor malls. Hence why Winnipeg hasn't seen a new indoor mall for the last 100 years (someone correct me if I'm wrong).


Quote:
Without those anchors, what's the point of retail at Portage Place? As we're finding out now, there really isn't one. In some ways, turning Portage Place entirely into office space might give the rest of downtown retail a shot in the arm... it might encourage more streetfront locations on Portage, Graham and other downtown avenues.
Personally I would be happy with either Portage place turning into all office and with Graham street being all storefront or I'd be happy with Portage Place resurrecting itself into being a decent mall.

I hate to compare to a city so different from Winnipeg but in Vancouver, and the lower mainland, if you look at each major town centre in the suburbs (like Guildford in Surrey, Lougheed, Brentwood, etc) they all have one thing in common to anchor each of these town centres, and that is an indoor mall. Now I am not trying to say that a mall is a key anchor to everything but these malls in the Lower Mainland bring a centralized shopping experience for those living in the Suburbs. And I think that we should start treating Portage Place and the Bay as anchors to a great neighbourhood.

Both the Bay and Portage Place already have skywalks connected to them. And I honestly believe that we just need more people living in the neighbourhood to push for that demand for a stronger mall. Again I would like to see more residential like True North Square, which by the way is an awesome project and it could be a game changer. But that's just me.
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2016, 10:18 PM
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I'm getting deja vu. I think there's a thread from a couple of years ago called "what would you do with Portage Place". But I'm not complaining; I like this topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
What it really boils down to is the fact that Portage Place was built on the faulty assumption that Eaton's and The Bay downtown stores would continue to be thriving destinations for years to come. In reality, Eaton's was in real trouble by the early 90s (they began closing floors in the mid 90s and shut the whole thing down by 1999), and while The Bay has fared a bit better, it has been on a steady but gradual descent for the last few decades. Downtown shopping as it was in the early 80s when Portage Place was conceived and how it is now are two completely different scenarios.

Without those anchors, what's the point of retail at Portage Place? As we're finding out now, there really isn't one. In some ways, turning Portage Place entirely into office space might give the rest of downtown retail a shot in the arm... it might encourage more streetfront locations on Portage, Graham and other downtown avenues.

All of this is accurate. In the '90s, Portage Place was about as good as any suburban mall. We could even make the case that the decline of Portage Place is not a symptom of downtown's problems, but that it mirrors what happened to malls all over North America. Portage Place's one asset over long-demolished Charleswood mall, or Northgate--which I see many of you wringing your hands over in the retail thread--is that it's a substantial office building above its two retail floors. I see no reason the trend of converting retail space to offices shouldn't continue.

With that said, a three block long blank wall along Portage does the city no favors. And the mall's remaining retail is an asset to downtown--the cell phone stores, Staples, and the food court are all useful to downtown residents and workers. Finally, the blocks of Portage and Graham just south of Portage Place are having something of a mini-renaissance, with a bunch of fun new retail operations; Portage Place can and should complement this.

So, here's what I suggest.
Keep Staples and Kennedy Court the same. Service Canada has already gobbled up the old Mcnally location, and that's fine. It's just the kind of service-based office that should operate off a semi-public atrium, which is what Kennedy court would become after I closed the central corridor of the mall.

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.

From Edmonton court East, I'd again leave some things the same, even going as far as allowing whatever stores open onto it to continue to do so. But Edmonton Court and the food court would be more open to the outdoors. I'd replace the glass wall along the food court with rolling overhead doors, and do the same with both ends of Edmonton Court, so that outside of winter months the spaces would become semi-open plazas.

From Edmonton Court East
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