WINNIPEG — The real estate arm of True North Sports + Entertainment is mulling over the potential purchase of Portage Place mall.
True North Real Estate Development Limited (TNRED) and The Forks North Portage Partnership (FNPP) are entering into an option agreement until the end of the year to see if the purchase is viable and at what cost.
“Portage Place has been a large, cumbersome and mostly vacant asset in a state of continuing decline in Winnipeg’s downtown for many years,” TNSE said in a statement on Monday.
“It is understood and supported by all parties that a dynamic and purposeful redevelopment plan is a necessary and significant step forward for the Portage Place community and the urban health of downtown Winnipeg as a whole.”
If the deal proceeds, True North would purchase the land, building and attached parkade for no less than $34.5 million.
True North, the owner of the Winnipeg Jets, says its plans would include a complete redevelopment of Portage Place to benefit urban improvement of the city’s downtown. Eventual plans would see the building turned into a mixed-use development with housing, retail and entertainment aspects.
True North already has a foot in the door at Portage Place by operating its Expo Live! venue inside the mall. The space most recently played home to the Rolling Stones Unzipped exhibit last summer.
“TNRED remains committed to a better Winnipeg through, among other things, engaging real estate developments that produce meaningful social and economic impacts,” the company added.
Portage Place has been the subject of future redevelopment speculation for several years — particularly in 2019. During that year, Toronto-based Starlight Investments announced a $70 million deal to purchase the property, but only if funding from all three levels of government would be committed. The company took its offer off the table two years later after public funding requests were rebuffed.