Grant Park Pavilions: Mixed-Use Development

Work has already begun on the Walmart Supercentre in the Grant Park Pavilions site along Taylor behind the Grant Park Shopping Mall. It is familiar territory for Walmart since they once occupied the spot presently held by Target in the mall back in 1994. At that time, the 9 Woolco stores across the province were taken over and re-made as Walmarts.

Shindico is the developer of Grant Park Pavillions and they have been shepherding a variety of projects along Taylor Avenue for decades. The site near the Manitoba Hydro building has probably been on a wish list for future development for years but it has been held back by the fact that major hydro lines cross crossed the land.

A perfect storm of events conspired to make the land near Hydro ever more valuable. First, the land around Grant Park has a higher density than many areas due to many apartment blocks nearby. The proximity to River Heights and Fort Rogue has ensured that a number of stores in the area do well. This is turn has led to a decades long expansion of retail along Taylor Avenue. Sports, health and recreation including Reh-Fit and racquet sports clubs was the street’s reputation in the past.

Pembina Highway is very close by and for people looking to pick up something before heading home to For Garry and St. Norbert, a diversion midway to their neighbourhoods along Taylor is workable.

The dogear of the rapid transit goes right past the site of the new development and towards the new Park lands development still in the inception phase.

All in all…so much promises to be perfect in terms of location of this development. Big concern though has to be the traffic flows on to Taylor off Pembina Highway. Is the city ready for this? My guess is no.

There appears to be a race for several shopping sites across the city. Most seem to be incorporating some form of multi-unit housing in their site plans and Grant Park Pavillions is no different.

Some critics might think that no one will want to live on a site with so much shopping. They should perhaps look to the Superstore on Bison Drive to realize those mutli-unit homes are rapidly selling.

At some point this massive retail build is going to have to slow down. I am not sure when or how but I suspect a development past, present or future will founder.

It is interesting to note that Fairweather, the development of Seasons of Tuxedo has passed on the work of bringing the next phase of the Sterling Lyon retail project to others. They won’t be putting together the factory outlet mall. Did they just think it was a good time to cash out?

The south side of Sterling Lyon continues to fill in but no new big box has been announced and built since last May with Cabela’s.

One thing is certain that Winnipeg will see more multi-unit housing go up in many retail developments. A captive audience for those stores is the possible reason. Perhaps one day, we may see residential towers built atop of existing malls like Polo Park.

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations