Monday, November 7, 2011

233 Kennedy Street - Medical Arts Building

 © 2011, Christian Cassidy

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 owner was a consortium of 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 old 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By the 1960s the building had become outdated.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 modern medical offices and clinics. In the late 1960s the company began exploring options and in 1970 announced plans for a new $4 million, 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 and a parking lot would be added.

June 15, 1974, Winnipeg Free Press

Construction on the new tower began in March 1972. 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 and adjoining parkade 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. the retail level houses a credit union, pharmacy, Salisbury House, and optician.

Proposed MLLC headquarters (source)

Update: September 29, 2015

Provincial Crown corporation Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries announced on September 29, 2015 that it had purchased the building headquarters 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.

Update: September 2016

The board of MLLC changed after the 2016 provincial election and the new board announced in September 2016 that the plan to redevelop the building into its new headquarters was cancelled.

Update: 2021

In 2017, the building and parkade were purchased by Hazelview Investments of Toronto for $15.5 million.

Hazelview's plan was to convert the building into a mixed-use development with around 100 residential suites and retail units on the main floor. The multi-million dollar renovation, designed by Winnipeg's Number TEN Architectural Group, began in 2019 and were completed in 2021. The conversion won the Canadian Federation of Apartment Association's 2021 Renovation of the Year Award.

Called The Arts Residences, the building is billed as "a fusion between an art gallery and a residence" with a common entertainment area, fitness centre, and original artwork on each floor. Rents start at $1,256 for a 757 square feet, one-bedroom unit.

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

The Arts Residences website
Retrofitting makes room for residential Number TEN blog
Medical Arts Building gets much more than facelift Winnipeg Free Press (May 2021)

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 !

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

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