Hudson’s Bay to close downtown Winnipeg location

Click to play video: 'The Bay in downtown Winnipeg closing'
The Bay in downtown Winnipeg closing
An iconic downtown staple is officially closing its doors after nearly 100 years in business. The Bay has announced its downtown Winnipeg location is no longer viable – Oct 2, 2020

An iconic downtown Winnipeg shopping spot will soon be shutting its doors for good.

Hudson’s Bay Company will close its Portage Avenue location in February 2021.

In a statement provided to Global News, HBC said the closure is due to “shifting consumer behaviour and changes to how and where customers are shopping.”

The Polo Park and St. Vital locations will remain open.

“While these decisions are difficult, they are the right ones for our business and reflect customer preferences,” the statement said.

“All eligible associates will receive appropriate employment separation packages and transfer opportunities will be explored where feasible.”

HBC says it remains open to working with the city and partners to find opportunities for the landmark building.

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Angela Mathieson, president and CEO of CentreVenture Development Corporation, calls it a disappointing day, but said the focus is now on the future.

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“The work right now is about coming up with a redevelopment plan and finding those private partners that are interested at giving The Bay some kind of new life,” Mathieson said.

“It really could be renovated for all kinds of uses, whether it’s a residential office, but we would like to see some degree of retail continue.”

RELATED: Hudson’s Bay retailers should invite more retailers to fill space in iconic building: Business expert

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO Kate Fenske says with a number of exciting projects coming to the downtown, such as the Portage Place redevelopment and Market Lands development, it’s important to keep the momentum going.

“What makes our downtown unique? It really is those retail opportunities, those experiences, arts, culture, business, all coming together, that you just don’t get in any other neighbourhood,” Fenske said.

An appraisal, done last year by Cushman & Wakefield for the Hudson’s Bay Company, valued the nearly 100-year-old building at $0 if it were to be leased back to the company.

Cushman & Wakefield found with a little more than $91 million in upgrades, the building’s value would increase to $8 million if leased to a single tenant.

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With a little more than $111 million in improvements that value would jump to just shy of $10.8 million if leased to multiple tenants.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman told Global News he had a brief call with the company’s President Iain Nairn and learned of their plans to close the downtown store.

“The HBC building forms an important part of Winnipeg’s history and many of us have positive memories attached to it as part our downtown,” Bowman said in a statement to Global News.

“While this is very disappointing news, Mr. Nairn was clear that HBC was looking to work with the community on next steps for the building.”

The building received a heritage designation in 2019.

More to come.

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