Saturday, August 25, 2012

171 Princess Street - Civic Centre Parkade

Place: Civic Centre Parkade
Address: 171 Princess Street
Opened: November 1965
Cost: $1.34m
Architects: Green, Blankstein Russell Associates


City Hall Overview (Edited)

In 1961 the area around Main and William was about to undergo a huge transition.

The city abandoned plans to build a new city hall either across from the Legislature on Broadway or the St. Paul's College site at Ellice and Vaughan, opting instead to build on the existing city hall site. Plans would soon be unveiled for the Centennial Centre complex comprising of a concert hall, theatre centre, museum and planetarium.

Parking was definitely going to be an issue for this new district .

Once city hall's construction was underway, its architects, Libling Michener and Associates, (now LM Architectural Group) drew up site plans for the second phase of the Civic Centre: a new police station.
Their initial 1962 site plan recommend that a multi-level, covered parking structure be built to the north of the PSB, home to the Raber Building and a British American service station.

It was Green, Blankstein Russell Associates who designed the four storey structure with space for 460 cars. The basement level would connect to the PSB's and be home to the city's repair and signals garage.

In April 1964 council approved $1.17m for the parkade, funded by 25-year, 5.75% interest debentures sold to the province of Manitoba. It was decided that construction would wait until the Public Safety Building plans were finalized and both could be tendered together.

September 29, 1964, Winnipeg Free Press

On September 28, 1964 council gave final approval to the projects and the tender was awarded to Peter Leitch Construction Ltd. at the December 21, 1964 council meeting.

In September 1965 council approved the parking rates which were said to be in line with other facilities in the city: 15 cents for the first 30 minutes; 10 cents for tho second half hour; and 10 cents for each additional hour. The maximum daily rate: $1.

The issue of monthly rates was a bit more contentious. The city first proposed $9 which was well below the estimated $11.35 considered to be the actual cost of providing the spot. After some outcry about providing city employees with parking at "below cost" rates, it was boosted to $12 per month.

The parkade opened in November 1965. The PSB in May 1966.

In August 1966 council approved the construction of a tunnel that would connect the Civic Centre's buildings with those of the Centennial Centre across the street. The cost, around $300k, was split evenly with the province.

Civic Parkade, Winnipeg

By the 2000s the parkade was in poor condition. In October 2007 a Winnipeg Parking Authority study found that it was in need of over $6 m in repairs.

This was around the same time that issues with the peeling exterior of the PSB were reaching a tipping point. Ever-increasing estimates for the repair work led the city to purchase the former Canada Post Building on Graham Avenue in 2009 for conversion into the city's new PSB.

The lack of an adjoining PSB and possible construction of a new, 450 stall parkade on James Street next to the Concert Hall have put the fate of the PSB's parking lot in doubt.

On August 24, 2012 the city ordered that the Civic Centre Pakade be closed indefinitely after the results of an engineering study.

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