July 5, 2016 7:30 pm

Redevelopment plan for pumping station in the works on Winnipeg waterfront

The pump station by the Red River has been closed for over 30 years.

Adrian Cheung/Global News

WINNIPEG — A proposal to re-develop a 110 year old pumping station is now in the works and is gaining momentum.

The city property committee voted to allow James Avenue, in the city’s East Exchange District, to be narrowed. It is the first piece in a larger proposal to build new residential and commercial spaces on the lot. CentreVenture is the development agency leading the charge for the proposal, along with a group of local developers.

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At the heart of the plan is the century old pumping station on the corner of Waterfront Drive and James Avenue. The now-empty hall was decommissioned in 1986 and since that time, there have been many proposals to convert the space; all of which has failed.

The structure has been difficult for developers to work around, as its internal machinery has to be maintained due to its heritage status. CentreVenture believes it has found the solution.

“As one cohesive unit, there will be three buildings on the site. One heritage and two new buildings, a mix of commercial and residential,” said Angela Mathieson, president and CEO of CentreVenture.

The project has also gained the support of Heritage Winnipeg’s Cindy Tugwell, who said that the proposal is a sign “that the city is committed to the Exchange District as a historic site.”

Some business owners are concerned the new project will endanger their own. CentreVenture’s plan would involve building on top of an existing parking lot; the area near Waterfront Drive already has scarce parking.

“Businesses have said that people have tried to come to their business. They circled around, circled around, came in and apologized for not coming but they couldn’t find a parking spot,” said Blue Moon Furniture’s manager Sylvia Bock.

“And then [the customers] left.”

The proposal includes a plan to create 50 underground parking spots. City council will now review the plan next week.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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