Sunday, September 14, 2008

On the Deghettoization of Downtown Winnipeg

According to a recent article in the Winnipeg Free Press, the Radisson Hotel has been sold.

To someone who'll do something with it. To someone who'll turn this oversized ghetto hotel into a bonafide destination. To someone who cares.

Now, I'm aware the "ghetto hotel" comment will no doubt upset some of my regular readers and friends - as by own admission, the hotel is rather nice inside - but hear me out.

The Radisson is probably the most prominent hotel (if not building) on the strip, meaning it's a high-visibility building. With me so far? Good. So, when your most prominent buildings look like this:







Photos Copyright © 2008 Conceited Jerk Creative Media

What does that say about your downtown? What does it say about your city in general? To an outsider? To someone who lives here? I'll tell you what it would say to me upon first impression: We don't care about our downtown.

Of course, we all know that's not true. Our downtown has generated a lot of interest of late: a few new businesses have opened, there has been some new development (Hydro building, etc), and it seems to me that more people are coming downtown. Heh, and people other than myself are complaining about the amount of surface-level parking lots!

But we live here. How would someone from out of town, who has made all his/her accomodation arrangements online (at $130 a night minimum) react to the boarded-up or missing parkade windows in what is supposed to be a business-class hotel? I'd turn around and find other accomodations - the Fairmont, for example.

The Radisson may be nice on the inside, but on the outside, the place is an eyesore and a disgrace (or, for the benefit of those whose pants are hanging off their asses, it looks all "ghetto 'n shit"). Granted, it's "just the parkade", but appearance is everything! It's been over a year since a windstorm knocked windows out all over Downtown, yet somehow all other building owners managed to replace them. The City and/or the Downtown BIZ should have been all over the Radisson's management to repair the windows and clean the place up, because the boarded up look helps bring down the area.

Sorry for rambling - "Downtown" has always been a touchy subject with me. But I digress.

If Leo Ledohowski's track record is anything to go by, I think we're in for something great. I used to love going to the Northstar Cinema (used to be in the lower level of the hotel) back in the day, and would love to see the hotel become a destination again. Link it up with CanadInns' other ventures nearby and you'll accomplish just that.

I can't wait to see what's in store!

5 comments:

Bryan Scott said...

I would argue that it's more than just the missing parkade windows that make this building an eyesore and a disgrace.

The building is a soulless, characterless concrete monolith, smack-dab in the middle of the most important street in the city. Portage Avenue deserved much better than this when the building was put up, and it deserves much better than it now.

Conceited Jerk said...

Well, I can't argue that!

It'd be nice to see Ledo replace the building with something nicer, but we both know that ain't gonna happen in our lifetime.

Hopefully, at the very least, he has the building's exterior cleaned (sandblasted, powderblasted, whatever...).

James Andrew Jaworski said...

We can blame Canadian Pacific Railway, who built the Northstar Inn after having the Alexandra Hotel demolished.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UHO319ZLpo

Mr. Nobody said...

Deghettotize, you'll need a few billion dollars. one more building getting a brush of lipstick won't do it.

Omega said...

I think this boils down to who owns the building. The city can be responsible for not applying adequate pressure on them.

But really, the companies who own the land and buildings are the ones choking the city. Look at how much they charge for space - it's like having a trap-door spider...Waiting to eat all the small businesses that make this city so great.

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