July 5, 2019 10:57 am
Updated: July 5, 2019 2:37 pm

Toronto development company interested in Portage Place purchase, will invest $300 million

Portage Place is pictured in Winnipeg Monday May 23, 2011. Portage Place is a mixed-use shopping centre located on the north side of Portage Avenue, between Vaughan and Carlton Streets in Downtown Winnipeg.

The Canadian Press Images/Francis Vachon

A development company from Toronto has offered to purchase Portage Place Shopping Mall and turn it into student housing and a commercial redevelopment.

Officials confirmed Friday Starlight Investments is interested in buying the beleaguered downtown shopping mall and will invest $300 million, including the purchase price of about $69 million for the mall and the parkade. The remaining money will go to a makeover that may include student housing.

The Forks North Portage Partnership’s Clair MacKay said it’s a “real investment.”

“With a potential of $300 million coming in, it looks like this is a good deal for Winnipeg and for downtown and a real investment in something that is not receiving any investment,” she said.

“Whats important to note about the purchase price is that this is a complicated deal.

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“We are the owners of the land and the parking. Any deal that we enter in at this point has to keep our organization whole.”

MacKay said the deal would have to replace revenue The Forks currently uses for funding.

FNPP’s board has already unanimously approved the sale, and now it must go to the other three levels of government for approval.

Coun. Jeff Browaty said the idea is a positive one.

“Status quo for portage place is not really a viable option,” he said. “We need to see something there that will improve our downtown and I think this is a path to maybe let that happen.”

READ MORE: Portage Place Shopping Centre could be up for sale

The mall opened in 1987 with an $80 million price tag. It was supposed to be a high-end retail magnet for shoppers, bringing new life to the north side of Portage Avenue downtown.

The Forks North Portage Partnership owns the land the mall sits on and leases it to the Peterson Group.

The City, Province, and federal government are also stakeholders.

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