Iconic Pembina Hotel could be demolished for new proposed development

The Pembina Hotel, known to many in the community as The Pemby, could soon be replaced.

Development firm Richard Wintrup put forward a proposal to develop a 12-story mixed use building on the corner of Pembina Highway and Jubilee Avenue in place of the Pembina Hotel.

The building would have 226 apartments as well as commercial space on the main floor.

Lorne Peterson lives in area and the Pemby is one of his favorite watering holes, but he might not have many more chances to visit.

“Certainly this is a landmark. I’ve been coming here for years. (I’ll) miss the place but you could kind of expect it," Peterson said, adding he’s noticed a lot of new apartment blocks being built in the neighbourhood.

“It’s a good area. It’s convenient for buses and U of M and all that. It’s a good location so I’m not surprised.”

The hotel has been standing along Pembina for more than 65 years.

Jino Distacio, a professor of urban geography at the University of Winnipeg, said the project is bitter sweet. He said the Pemby was a place of gathering for decades, but the project fits the kind of development the city is looking to do.

“(It’s) rebuilding our cities. Being more sustainable is about increasing density, looking to mixed use, and connecting in to great pathways, whether it’s Pembina Highway, the rapid transit, active transportation.”

Distacio said the nearby Fort Rouge yards are proof that infill projects can be done in mature neighbourhoods. He believes the new proposal will re-energize the area.

“It’s checking the right boxes. A good scale of development for that site, mixed use which we want to see.”

Jon Orlikow, city councillor for River Heights and Fort Garry, declined to comment on the new proposal because he’s voting on the matter in the coming days.

Peterson said he might have to go across the street to the Cambridge Hotel next time he wants to visit a beverage room.

“I wish it wasn’t happening I can tell you that. But like I say I’m not surprised, and I guess it’s progress they call it.”

Rezoning changes to support the project will go to a vote at Friday’s City Centre Community Committee meeting.