Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College
Site Area ~.45 ac
Housing Units 104; 1 and 2 bedroom
Residential Density ~230 dwelling units per acre
Transit – high frequency bus service
Car – on street
Bike – on site
Tower: 10 storeys
Annex (attached building): 2 storeys
New Addition (west side): 3 storeys
Tower: Grade I – outstanding architectural & historical merit
Annex: Grade II – architectural & historical merit
Tower & Annex: designated National Historic Sites
Anticipated Completion Spring 2013
Developer Red River College
Project Partners Paterson GlobalFoods Inc., Centre Venture, City of Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba, Government of Canada, Prairie Architects.
In 2008, Red River College purchased the Union Bank Tower and Annex at 504/500 Main Street to accommodate its Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program, three street-level restaurants and a 100-room student residence. The new building is called the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College.
This expansion of Red River College’s Downtown campus transforms a long-vacant landmark heritage building into a mixed use educational facility that will increase educational spaces, housing units, and local amenities in the Downtown area. Construction began in 2009 and is expected to be complete by spring 2013. Click “Vision Gallery” to see project diagrams.
Zoning for the site is “Character” (Downtown Zoning By-Law 100/2004), which permits a compatible, fine-grained mix of uses and requires urban design review. The project does not require rezoning, as the Downtown By-Law allows for mixed use development in all parts of the Downtown.
This project ambitiously meets a number of goals relating to sustainability, heritage preservation and Downtown revitalization, and in doing so aligns with OurWinnipeg and the Complete Communities Direction Strategy (see “How does the project fit with the urban structure and City plans?” for more on this). Red River College and Prairie Architects worked with the City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee and Urban Design Advisory Committee as part of the design process. The following are some of the key innovations of this project:
New Downtown Educational Spaces
This project will bring about 1000 students to the downtown area daily. One of the strategies to supporting a vibrant Downtown identified in the Complete Communities Direction Strategy is to facilitate the growth of post-secondary campuses Downtown, in order to create the critical mass of people required to support commercial and retail development Downtown.
New Downtown Housing Units
This project adds 104 new housing units to the Downtown area. This not only helps address a shortage of rental housing in Winnipeg, but also adds to the complement of housing units geared to students. An increased population Downtown also helps support the local culture and economy into the evening hours, and can make the area more lively and safe.
New Downtown Amenities
Three restaurants are part of this project. These will serve as training settings for students, while increasing the food/dining options for those living in or visiting Downtown. There will also be a student-run deli/food outlet. These amenities will be located at street level to maximize their connection and access to the public. There will be cooking courses, and rental space for private events.
Heritage and Functionality
The main Tower is being redeveloped using the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada as closely as possible. In the Tower, the annex, and the new addition, the architects have worked to strike a balance between heritage conservation and modern function. Some examples of this include:
- The exterior and much of the interior of the Tower, including the main floor Banking Hall, are being fully restored
- The Tower’s exterior staircase will be built to reflect the original design
The restored 2-storey arched windows and heritage lighting inside the Banking Hall will illuminate the dining space at night
- The ceiling and roof of the Annex will be reconfigured to provide light into the buildings
- The south wall of the Annex will be smooth Tyndal Stone to correspond with the colour and tone of the terra cotta base on the Tower
- The rooftop of the Annex will serve as a deck overlooking Market Square. A trellis from this level will provide a shaded, green canopy
- The new three-storey addition is modern in character and form but compatible with buildings of the Exchange District in terms of mass, materials, and colour
- The new addition is built to maximize the view south into Market Square
The buildings are being constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards, using energy and water conservation techniques as well as controlled indoor air quality and sustainable building materials. Part of the environmental goal is to reuse existing materials as much as possible. For example, original stone spindles have been reused, repaired or replaced; and the cages from the historic elevator are being salvaged and reused in one of the restaurants.
The building will be accessible for those with mobility challenges. There will be elevator service to all floors and there will be an accessible suite on every resident floor.
Active Transportation and Increased Neighbourhood Connectivity
This project provides indoor bike parking. Bijoux Park, on the south side, will remain accessible to the public, encouraging pedestrian movement around the buildings.
Ecologically Sensitive Features
New ductwork will allow heat from the kitchens to be re-circulated through the building. The Tower has been fitted with efficient, historically-accurate custom windows, and a composting centre will be housed within the basement.
Street Level Activity and Presence
A ‘transparent’ ground floor (lots of windows) helps reveal the activity within buildings to people outside, making the pedestrian experience safer and more interesting. The 2-storey windows be fully used and well lit, and the south side of the Annex (facing Bijou Park) is being transformed into a fully windowed façade. Both levels of the Annex will have transparent glass providing a direct visual connection between the inside and outside; and the lower level will open onto the park with multiple entry points.
Community Economic Development
The complex has dedicated space in which Red River College can partner on applied research projects with Manitoba-based growers and food and beverage producers. These spaces will allow chefs to bring local cuisine to the world market, including grains grown in Manitoba’s Interlake area. Researchers will have opportunities to develop innovative packaging, test the market, create recipes for restaurants, and assist in improved production methods.
Restoration of protected heritage buildings such as these is technically challenging. A creative approach is needed in order to preserve heritage while making acceptable adaptations for the new use. For the Tower and Annex, restoration of the stone exterior, balconies, Banker’s Hall, and other elements have been delicate, labour-intensive processes. Red River College has worked with the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, and the City of Winnipeg to develop funding strategies and partnerships that helped make the project more viable, and further enabled Red River to seriously address heritage restoration. Centre Venture worked to make the property available to Red River College. All partners have engaged with one another throughout the process.
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College and the urban structure
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute is being built Downtown, an area of prime strategic importance in the urban structure, and the city’s preeminent complete community. The Paterson project aligns with goals of the urban structure by expanding employment and education opportunities Downtown, strengthening Downtown as a hub for learning and commercial activity, accommodating population growth, promoting extended hour, pedestrian oriented economic activity Downtown and developing student-oriented housing in close proximity to Downtown learning institutions (described in The Complete Communities Direction Strategy, Section 03-1c).
The project also aligns with the urban structure by adaptively reusing an underutilized heritage building with mixed use, incorporating design safety elements such as universal access, lighting, sightlines, building security and landscaping, providing complimentary services in order to support the Downtown residential population (described in Section 03-1b); and by providing exemplary urban design (described in Section 03-1e).
Downtown is one of the Transformative Areas in the urban structure. Transformative Areas also include Major Redevelopment Sites, Centres & Corridors and New Communities.
Read about Downtown and Transformative Areas in the Complete Communities Direction Strategy
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College and the Complete Communities Direction Strategy
In addition to the urban structure, this project aligns with other goals of the Complete Communities Direction Strategy by conserving heritage resources, linking heritage conservation with economic development (training and community economic development), sustainability (green building and operations) and social initiatives (increased educational opportunities); and considering historic integrity of the wider neighbourhood (described in Section 13).
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College and the Sustainable Transportation Direction Strategy
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute aligns with goals of the Sustainable Transportation Direction Strategy by incorporating active transportation routes and improving connectivity (described in Section 02).
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College and the Sustainable Water & Waste Infrastructure Strategy, and the Sustainable Winnipeg Direction Strategy
Paterson GlobalFoods Institute aligns with goals of the Sustainable Water and Waste Direction Strategy and the Sustainable Winnipeg Direction Strategy by using water sensitive urban design (integrating a green roof – described in Section 06-3 of the Water and Waste Strategy). Incorporating LEED building techniques will also help the city make progress toward sustainability goals identified in the Sustainable Winnipeg Direction Strategy.
June 23, 2010
Council concurred in the recommendation of the Standing Policy Committee on Downtown Development and approved a ninety-nine year Lease Agreement for Red River College to use the Bijou Theatre park land (the public land between the Union Bank Tower and its southern neighbour). See PDF or click here.
July 22, 2009
Council concurred in the recommendation of the Standing Policy Committee on Downtown Development and adopted the agreement and obligations to develop the Union Bank Tower, the Union Bank Tower Annex and former Leland Hotel lands by Red River College. See PDF or click here.
There was no public hearing for this project as a rezoning was not required. (Rezoning is a change to the zoning designation and regulations on a parcel of land.)
Additional information can be found on the website of Red River College
The land on which the Union Bank Tower and Annex sit was originally part of the bed of Brown’s Creek, which ran from the Red River across Main Street.
The Union Bank Tower was built on the site in 1903-1904. It is one of a handful of turn-of-the-century construction projects that confirmed Winnipeg had come of age and that investors were optimistic about the city’s future. The years leading up to the First World War generally were ones of unparalleled growth, fuelled by rapid immigration and prairie settlement. The local population more than tripled and Winnipeg thrived as the West’s financial, grain marketing, warehousing and transportation hub.
The Tower is one of the city’s earliest examples of the Chicago School of architecture, a style that emerged in the 1890s to complement new construction methods and materials that supported taller, stronger and more fire-resistant buildings. According to Parks Canada, the Union Bank Tower is western Canada’s oldest skyscraper.
The building was designed by Darling and Pearson of Toronto and Winnipeg, and built for $420,000 by the George A. Fuller and the Thompson and Starrett contracting companies, both of New York City.
In 1912, the Union Bank moved its headquarters to Winnipeg. Nine years later the company built the Annex; a two-storey Savings Bank. The company experienced financial stress in the 1910s, however; as a result of slower prairie growth and a trend toward corporate consolidation. Its many branches became costly to maintain.
In 1925, Montreal-based Royal Bank of Canada acquired the Union Bank. The Royal Bank owned the Tower until 1974 and maintained a branch there until 1992 when the company relocated to Main and James Avenue. The Annex housed a Winnipeg disco called “Bogarts” in the 1970s. After the closing of the Royal Bank in 1992, the building sat vacant.
On June 9, 1995, the City acquired the Tower and the Annex through the Tax Sale process, and on July 18 of that year, the City listed the Union Bank Tower as a Grade I structure on the Building Conservation list, and the Union Bank Annex as a Grade II structure.
In February of 1997, the City issued an Invitation for Offers for the property.
On September 22, 1997, the Government of Canada recognized both the Exchange District and the Union Bank Building as National Historic Sites.
On October 24, 2001 Council approved a $2M Heritage Conservation Tax Credit (HCTC) for the redevelopment of the Union Bank Tower, the Union Bank Annex, and the former Leland Hotel site.