Wednesday, August 24, 2011

110 Princess Street - Fairchild Lofts

Fairchild Lofts, Winnipeg

Project: Fairchild Lofts (no website)
Address: 110 - 120 Princess Street (Map)
Status: Opened 2006
Size: 50 Units
Cost: $7m


Fairchild ad ca. 1903

Westbrook and Fairchild was formed in 1877 as grew to be one of the city’s largest manufacturers of farm machinery and carriages. Though Frank Fairchild died in 1897 the company carried on as Fairchild Company with H.W. Hutchinson the new owner.

The company needed larger manufacturing, warehouse and display space and in 1906 announced that they would construct a new headquarters right next door to their existing one. The six storey, 63,000 sq ft Fairchild Building would take the addresses 110 - 120 Princess Street.

Fairchild Lofts, Winnipeg
Fairchild Company logo

The John Deere Plow Company, for whom Fairchild were agents, was eager to enter the Canadian West but wanted to do it through acquisition of Fairchild, whose network included properties in Regina, Calgary and Edmonton. It took a while but Hutchinson told the Free Press on October 4, 1907:

The consummation of the sale of this business to the John Deere Plow Co. of Moline, Illinois terminates negotiations that originated four years ago by the purchasers…

The rumored price was $1 million.

February 1, 1908. Winnipeg Free Press.

On December 1, 1906 John Deere assumed control of Fairchild and its brand new headquarters. Deere leased out excess warehouse space in the building to other companies, usually under the address 120 Princess. They remained the owners until 1951 when they relocated to smaller premises.

In 1953 the Sterling Cloak Company, formerly located in the Whitla Building, took over the building. They were large scale clothing manufacturers and had contacts for making outfits for the likes of the Canadian Forces. (The more familiar name of Sterling Stall came about in the late 1970s.)

Sterling Cloak rented out a great deal of excess space. Tenants included the federal government’s Unemployment Insurance Commission, Robinson-Alamo (machinery dealers) and long-time retail tenant Charles Home Ltd (fabric wholesaler).

Sterling Stall remained associated with the building until 1984. From that point forward there were numerous tenants and any one time including Penthouse Furniture Warehouse Store, General Doray Enterprises.

Fairchild Lofts, Winnipeg

In 2001 the University of Manitoba studied the feasibility of leasing the building as a downtown campus space. Nothing came of it.

In 2004 an Edmonton-based developer announced that they had purchased the building for conversion into loft-style condominiums with office and retail space on the main floor. The $7 m conversion saw the construction of 50 residential units ranging from 635 to 1,673 square feet.

Fairchild Lofts image gallery GWH Construction
110 Princess Historic Buildings Committee
110 Princess Winnipeg Building Index
Fairchild Building Heritage Winnipeg

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