The impact a proposed development of Pembina Highway could have on the neighbourhood

A proposed development on Pembina Highway could see the Cambridge Hotel demolished and replaced with a residential apartment building.

The proposal comes on the heels of a community committee approval for condos in place of the Pembina hotel across the street.

Don is a regular inside the Cambridge Hotel Beverage Room, he goes there a few times a week to grab a drink, and watch the games.

“I’ve been coming here ever since I was a kid, in fact, I had my first legal beer here,” said Don.

The proposal comes from development firm Richard Wintrup, the company is looking to demolish the hotel and build a six-story multi-family residential building with 87 suites.

Don said the news came as a shock to him and others.

“All my friends that I sit with here, they have really fond memories of this place. This place is really going to hurt when it closes.”

The Cambridge isn’t the only hotel on the block that could see some changes.

A development proposal for the Pemby, across the street from the Cambridge was approved at the committee level earlier this month, if approved by council the new build would be a 12-story mixed-use building with 226 apartments and commercial space on the main floor.

Professor of Urban Development at the University of Winnipeg, Jino Distasio said these hotels are nostalgic for many people in the neighbourhood, but there is a need to reinvest.

“I think it’s going to take us about 10 to 15 years to really see dramatic transformation into what has long been an industrial kind of intersection here with an underpass,” said Distasio.

Other developments are happening in the area as well.

Earlier this month, Vic’s Fruit Market bought the Original Pancake House across the street so it could build a larger store in the space.

“The small grocers, the small shops, the walk-up stuff that makes neighbourhoods great, that’s the kind of amenity we want to see on the street.”

City Councillor for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry, Sherri Rollins said the application for the Cambridge Hotel hasn’t been submitted to the city yet, it’s still in the community consultation stage.

She said there’s a lot of old commercial space in East Fort Garry.

“You want to see renewal and you’re hoping as a councillor, along corridors to be attracting the investments so that you can see it. A lot of that is discussions with developers,” said Rollins.

Rollins said the city has made large investments in rapid transit over the years including along the Pembina underpass, and it’s common to see development follow those kinds of projects.

Don is soaking up what could potentially be his last days at the Cambridge.

“Progress is progress, and I guess that’s what it’s all about,” said Don.