Monday, July 22, 2013

330 Portage Avenue - Bank of Montreal Building / Newport Centre

x to July 20 2013 040

Place: Bank of Montreal Building / Newport Centre
Address: 330 Portage Avenue
Size: 17-storey, 153,313 sq ft
Cost: $5 million
Officially opened: October 19, 1971
Contractor: Robert McAlpine Ltd.
Architect: Sigmund D. F. Reszetnik

March 20, 1968, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1968 the Bank of Montreal purchased a parcel of land at the south west corner of Portage and Hargrave.Plans were unveiled in June 1969 for a 17-storey, modern office tower. 

The bank long had a branch near Portage and Hargrave, now the Book Fair building, and they wanted to expand their services to take advantage of a growing business presence in the downtown and along Broadway.

December 29, 1969, Winnipeg Tribune (source)

Demolition began on the existing building, the Mitchell Copp Building, in December 1969. (For a view of the front of the building ca 1920 see Peel's.) 

A building permit was issued later that month to the Bank of Montreal for a 17-storey*, 153,313 sq ft, $3.8 million tower. With furnishings the estimated price of the building was $5 million. (The current owner's website says 18 but counting the floors there are 17. According to the accompanying floor plan, the building HAS 18th floor but no 13th floor, leaving 17).

May 13, 1970, Winnipeg Free Press

The main floor included a new bank branch, the top two floors housed Bank of Montreal's Manitoba / Saskatchewan divisional offices. The floors in between were rented out. An agreement in principle was reached with Eaton's to later add a walkway between the two buildings so some of the second floor was reserved for retail space.

A unique feature of the building is that a number of the floors were specially reinforced and cooled in order to hold massive mainframe computers and data storage devices belonging to tenants..

The reinforced-concrete building has a facade made up of alternating glass panes and "porcelain-ceramelled" panels.

The bank branch moved to the new building in August 1971, office employees followed over the next weeks. On October 19, 1971 the topping off ceremony took place. Guests included mayor Stephen Juba, Municipal Affairs Minister Howard Pawley, and Stanley Davidson, Bank of Montreal's senior vice-president for the Manitoba Saskatchewan division. After the speeches 1,000 helium filled balloons were released from the top floor.

In 1987 Great West Life purchased the building. They invested $1 million in renovations, including an expansion of the retail presence on the second floor to accommodate the Portage Place skywalk. They rechristened it NewPort Centre in June 1987.

In 2005 it was purchased by current owners Huntingdon Capital Corporation.

July 8, 1969, Winnipeg Free Press

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