The Forks is getting ready for a major face lift on a prime piece of real estate.
Two rows of parking lots running next to the rail lines could be transformed if the Forks gets approval from City Hall on Monday.
The Railside proposal, which is from all three levels of government and from the Forks, uses two parcels of land: one owned by the city and the other by the Forks Renewal Corporation.
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The 12 acres are slated to be turned into 1,200 residences in low rise apartment blocks, with storefronts on the bottom level and affordable housing, rental units and condos above that.
University of Winnipeg’s director of Urban Studies Jino Distasio said he’s ready for the change.
“Housing is going to drive a significant change to the character of the Forks,” Distasio said. “We really need to bridge that rail line with some housing and development to bring the Forks back into the downtown.”
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But many Winnipeggers are concerned about the fact that, if approved, the development will eliminate hundreds of parking spots.
“Anytime there’s a disruption on that space, Winnipeggers really want to know the what’s what of that development,” Disatasio said.
According to the proposed concept, less parking is all part of the plan. The blueprints detail a shift towards walking, biking, and transit; saying that Railside is an opportunity to challenge conventional notions and society’s need to accommodate cars.
In fact, there’s even plans to eventually build a walkway that incorporates the rail line.
The project would be funded by tax increment financing, where tax revenues are funneled back into the developed area.
The Forks said Friday they’ve already signed letters of agreement with multiple developers who are interested in leasing the land, which means if everything goes according to plan for the group on Monday, shovels could be in the ground in 2018.