Friday, September 10, 2010

Downtown Places - The Warwick Apartments

Warwick Apartments
Place: The Warwick Apartments
Address: 366 Qu'Appelle Ave (Map
Opened: 1909
Architect: William Wallace Blair

Cost: $150,000


By 1905 Central Park and area around it developed into an upscale residential area featuring large homes, tennis courts, a band shell and large gardens.

To this point, apartment blocks in Winnipeg were anything but upscale. They were modest buildings meant to house as many people as possible.
The Warwick Apartments were an ambitious project that tried to change that perception.

Central Park
April 30, 1909, Manitoba Free Press

The company created to build and manage the block comprised of William Pitt Alsip, Sigfus Brynjolfson, Sveinn Brynjolfson (the contractor), William Wallace Blair (the architect) and Arthur A. Alsip.

The Alsip Family still run
Alsip's Building Products located at the same location that they manufactured brick from back in the late 1800s

The contractor 'Brynjolfson' was an early leader, but by no means not the only, Icelandic immigrant who specialized in apartment construction. They were responsible for hundreds of large residential buildings throughout the city.

ca 1911 source

In the summer of 1908 the existing homes on the site were demolished and excavation for The Warwick got underway.

Blair concentrated on the two perceived disadvantages of apartments at the time: a lack of natural light and poor air flow. There are windows are on all fours sides of the building and balconies front and back. Not noticeable from the outside is the large courtyard enclosed by a glass roof.

Suites were large and even had space for servants. The apartment boasted an elevator with, of course, an elevator boy on duty. 

Rents were at least $60 a month and Warwick rented whatever empty suites they had at a discount for the summer season to visitors or those wishing to take a 'staycation' beside the park.

The neighbourhood surrounding The Warwick began to wane after the forties. The large homes were subdivided into smaller and smaller units to attract those seeking lower rent. The Warwick felt the impact as well and fell into disrepair.

In 1986 the Warwick received a $3m renovation, ($300k of that a grant from the Core Area Initiative). Windows were replaced and the 56 suites redone. The apartment reopened as a housing co-op. Penner Properties Western Ltd., and Marshall Haid Associates Ltd. won a Heritage Preservation award for their work.

2d - 366 QuAppelle Ave.    Warwick Apts.    Wpg City Books
Central Park Winnipeg Downtown Places
Warwick Apartments Historic Buildings Committee Report
366 Qu'Appelle Ave U of M Winnipeg Building Index

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