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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Open House: Burnell's former Canada Bread plant proposal UPDATE

Former Canada Bread Plant

There will be an open house today to show off a proposed plan for a new residential / commercial development for the old Canada Bread plant on Burnell Street near Portage Avenue. It takes place Wednesday December 19 from 2 pm to 5 pm at 696 Portage Avenue near Maryland.

November 8, 2012, Manitoba Free Press

It's potentially great news for the building which opened at 258 Burnell in November 1912 and has sat vacant since Canada Bread's departure in 1998. Poorly maintained with some windows not boarded up and at times doors open and steel grates missing from over the sidewalk out front, the owners have been cited (and appealed) numerous times under the Vacant Building Bylaw, (including in 2006  and throughout 2011 -12.) I figured it was doomed to burn to the ground one night.

Grey Hound Garage demo

It's also potentially great news for the neighbourhood. It's the final relic from the old industrial days of Burnell Street that included a bus garage, two commercial bakeries, an ice cream plant and a dry cleaning plant all in a two block stretch. (The Grey Goose garage was demolished earlier this year and is now a vacant lot for sale.)

The only thing that does set my radar off is the way in which the open house has been advertised. I live within a block of the building, 300 metres according to Google Maps. Aside from a few houses that sit across the back lane from it, there aren't really any residences closer to it than me and my neighbours and they don't seem to have received the "Hi Neghbour" letter advertising it.

I really hope that this is a sincere proposal, and not something to buy additional time from having to properly maintain the place, (they've had six months of reprieve from their latest citation under the bylaw based on the fact that there may be a potential development.)

Former Canada Bread Plant

A history of Burnell's Bakeries West End Dumplings
Burnell Street Building by Building  West End Dumplings
Planned apartment building declared derelict Metro (April 2012)
Appeal denied Winnipeg Free Press (April 2012)

UPDATE December 19:

I attended the open house. The consortium is looking to convert both buildings (the main bakery and stables/garage) into 80 rental units with 4 retail units on the main floor. The main floor of the garage will be parking.

A majority of the units will be smaller, around 600 sq feet, though there will be a few 2 bdr as well. Each will have an interior balcony so the outward appearance of the building doesn't change much.

They will be going to the city soon to request zoning approval. One guy told me that they do wold like to begin in March 2013 and have it done by the end of the year. I won't believe it until I see a flurry of builders' vans out front, but it is a hopeful sign for tis nice, old building.
Also, an update on the former Grey Goose garage ... I herd a rumour that it has been conditionally purchased (based on the owner getting zoning changes and independent confirmation of the contamination cleanup) by Sandhu Developments for a condominium development.

That stretch of Burnell Street could look very different this time next year !

UPDATE January 29, 2013:

The owners have requested a rezoning of the property. Drawings, floor plans and other details of the project can be seen by going here and using the menu at the top to scroll down to "258 Burnell Street - DAV"

UPDATE March 2013: 

Canada Bread plant redevelopment clears hurdle Canstar

UPDATE November 2013:

After spending the summer of 2013 clearing the building out, the owners (Burnell Properties Ltd.) sold the building. A letter was send to the city saying that as they were no longer owners, they would not be appealing the next derelict building hearing on December 3.

Presumably, the new owners will seek an appeal. If not, the city would take title to the land and try to sell it.

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