For an affordable and sustainable Winnipeg that grows up, not out
Winnipeg Infill Highlight #2
October 8, 2023
What do you get when you combine underutilized land with good design guidelines? Great infill developments of course! In this post I’ll be highlighting three new mid-rise apartment buildings built in central Winnipeg over the past few years. From leafy West Broadway, to urban Osborne Village, to the hustle and bustle of Marion St, these projects have all successfully added more housing for people wishing to live in these desirable central neighbourhoods.
The first project I’ll be highlighting today was completed just a few months ago. Les Suites is a 5 story, mixed-use and mixed-income building located at 156 Marion St in St. Boniface. The building contains a total of 2 commercial rental units as well as 48 residential apartments. 15 of the 48 apartments are affordable units reserved for clients of St. Amant Inc, Sara Riel Inc, and Abri Marguerite. This building is a huge improvement over the surface parking lot it replaces. The building will provide new commercial rental units for businesses looking to operate in St. Boniface, affordable apartments with subsidized rent, and many brand-new apartments for people looking to live in a modern building located right in the heart of St. Boniface. These are exactly the types of developments Winnipeg needs to keep its neighbourhoods healthy and lively for generations to come.
Now let’s hop over the river to… ummmm… River Ave. Located at 93 Nassau St, Dexter House is a 4 story, multi-family residential building completed in 2019. The building contains 13 residential rental units and features lots of beautiful Manitoba Limestone on the exterior. Its location at the corner of River Ave and Nassau St is right next to the Osborne Village Safeway and multiple bus routes. Projects like this one help to reduce traffic city-wide. By locating new residential buildings close to downtown, new residents are more likely to walk, bike, or bus to work than residents living in new buildings on the edge of the city. This takes cars off the road during rush hour, making everyone’s commute easier. In addition, the building is also located close to groceries, a drug store, local restaurants, and many other amenities. These services are all within easy walking distance of the building, helping to reduce traffic outside of rush hour as well. Imagine how much worse the traffic in Winnipeg would be if all the new infill developments over the past 10 years were instead greenfield developments (on the edge of the city) where the vast majority of residents drive for most trips. The new building at 93 Nassau St replaces one single-family house.
The final project I’d like to highlight in this post is a large project that’s gotten little notice; 230 Good Street. I mean, where even is Good Street? Well it turns out it’s a “half-street” (one side of the street is a back lane) in West Broadway that runs between Broadway and Portage Ave. Here’s a Google Maps link for those who are curious:
The building at 230 Good St, called Urban Square, was approved in 2019 and completed in 2021. It contains 145 rental apartments spread out over 6 stories. The site was previously several vacant lots and surface parking lots. Large, residential infill buildings such as this one provide a major boost to the property tax revenue collected by the City of Winnipeg. Across the street, at 215 Good St, is a surface parking lot with a frontage of 122 feet and an assessed property value of $673,000. That’s an average assessed value of $550,600 per 100 ft of frontage. The new building at 230 Good St has a frontage of 400 ft and is assessed at $29,998,000. That’s an average of $7,499,500 per 100 ft of frontage, or roughly 14 times more taxable value per foot of frontage compared to the surface parking lot across the street. Building more infill buildings will help to alleviate Winnipeg’s current financial struggles. Maybe one day we’ll even have enough money to get all those potholes filled!
All of the highlighted buildings mark a small but important step to Winnipeg becoming a more sustainable city. Compared to greenfield development, infill development helps reduce our impact on the environment, provides more housing choice for people wanting to live in established neighbourhoods, generates more property tax revenue for the City of Winnipeg, and ultimately reduces traffic city-wide. The three buildings highlighted in this post replaced a total of one single-family house and several vacant lots and surface parking lots. Projects like these deserve the support of Winnipeggers who care about the future of our city.
Thanks for reading the second post in our series on Winnipeg Infill Highlights. If you’re interested in becoming involved with YIMBY Winnipeg, please sign up to our mailing list at https://www.yesinwpg.com/contact-us/ or check the front page of our website for the next in-person YIMBY meetup.