Monday, November 7, 2011

233 Kennedy Street - Medical Arts Building

Around Downtown 08
Place: Medical Arts Building (Website)
Address: 233 Kennedy Street (Map)
Opened: June 17, 1974
Cost: $4 million
Moody Moore and Partners
Contractor: Bird Construction
Size: 150,000 sq ft, fifteen storeys 


Original Medical Arts ca. 1971 (Source)

The original Medical Arts Building on this site was a was a four storey building facing Graham Avenue that opened in April 1923. The owners were 36 doctors and dentists who each bought shares in the Medical Arts Building Ltd. The idea was to provide a central office space with common club rooms, lecture halls and lab facilities.

The building was a success and 1926 the Medical Arts added two more floors. Another expansion, a six storey building, was added to the south in 1945. In 1959 there was further expansion that included the addition of a 385 car parkade facing Edmonton Street.

Drawing of the new Medical Arts Building (Source)

By the 1960s the building had become outdated. It was in poor shape, had no air conditioning and the electrical and plumbing systems were not adequate for the growing amount of machinery used in medical offices and clinics. In the late 1960s the company began exploring options and in 1970 announced plans for a new $4m, 15 storey building.

The tower would be built to the south of the existing structure. Once completed, the old Medical Arts would be torn down and the retail portion of the main floor of the new building completed.

June 15, 1974, Winnipeg Free Press

In March 1972 construction began. There were delays due province-wide strikes by both the plumbers' and elevator installers' unions and the building finally opened on June 17, 1974. To ensure that there were no interruptions to patient services, the 150 or so doctors were moved in an around the clock office transfer on the weekend of June 14 - 16, 1974.

Later that summer demolition began on the old Medical Arts Building. The vacant lot was to be a temporary parking area and eventually a grocery store, which never materialized. It remains a 54 stall surface parking lot.

The existing parkade was connected to the new building by an enclosed walkway, the first in Winnipeg !

Medical Arts Building

In 2006 Huntingdon Real Estate Investment Trust purchased the building, adjoining parkade and vacant lot on Graham Avenue for $14 m from the Medical Arts Building Ltd. The company was then wound down.

The Medical Arts Building currently houses 120 medical and dental professionals in 72 offices as well as a credit union, pharmacy, Salisbury House and optician on the retail level.

Proposed MLLC headquarters (source)

Update: September 29, 2015

On September 29, 2015, the Crown corporation Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries announced that it had purchased the building from Huntingdon REIT to be their new headquarters.

The purchase price was $7.9 million. Another $66 million will be spent to renovate the existing building and parkade as well as to build a five storey, 80,000 square foot addition in what is now the surface parking lot area.

Once completed, the top ten storeys will continue to be rented out to tenants, while the bottom five floors and new addition will house MLLC's 400 or so employees.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2017.

Image sources:
Original 1923 - 1971 building (source)
Proposed New Medical Arts Building (source)
Medical Arts Building in 2012 (source)
Proposed MLLC headquarters (source)

UPDATE: The board of MLLC was changed after the 2016 provincial election. the new board announced in September that it was cancelling the relocation and redevelopment plan.

MLCC Scraps $75m relocation plan CBC (Sep 2016)
MLCC unveils new headquarters on Kennedy St. CBC (Sep 2015)
A new downtown head office Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (news release)
A new downtown head office Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (video) 
233 Kennedy Street Winnipeg Building Index
233 Kennedy Street Winnipeg Architecture Foundation


  1. Just a small edit. Purchase cost was 7.9 million and the redevelopment costs are 66 million.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out. The numbers have been corrected !

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  7. why couldn't the doctors stay; in the medical arts bldg.?