Winnipeg’s Hudson’s Bay flagship web site appraised as nugatory

According to an appraisal, the Bay’s downtown Winnipeg store on Portage Avenue, built in 1925, has been valued at a cash value of $0

The most iconic and recognizable retail building in Winnipeg has been appraised for less than the change in your couch.

According to an appraisal report on 79 buildings owned by the Hudson’s Bay Co., the Bay’s downtown Portage Avenue store, a six-storey building built in 1925, has been valued at a cash value of $0.

The appraisal, which was done by Cushman & Wakefield, generated that number from a formula that compares the value of the land and structure, the potential revenue that they can generate and their costs and liabilities.

The 650,000-square-foot building has been underutilized for the last 20 years as the Bay has completely closed down four floors, using just two others for its wares. The Zellers store that used to occupy the basement went out of business in 2013, the real estate agency noted.

According to the appraisal, if the site were vacant, it would likely be developed with retail and other commercial uses, such as offices or multi-residential development.

“It is our opinion that redevelopment, including office, retail, services, restaurants, entertainment, public institutions, multiple-family residential and mixed-used parking facilities, would be the highest and best use,” the report said.

The biggest problem is it’s not suited to anything but being a department store and the renovation costs would be massive if anybody came up with a plan that could actually work.

Potential developers have shied away because the massive floor plate means only a fraction of the space receives sunlight. It would also cost more than $100 million to bring the building up to code.

The City of Winnipeg is in the process of seeking a historic  designation for the building so it will never be torn down.

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