201 Portage celebrates $25+ million makeover

There’s new life in downtown Winnipeg following the completion of a stunning $25+ million renovation project at one of the city’s most distinguished business addresses — 201 Portage Avenue. The tower’s revitalization was officially celebrated in November at an event hosted by Harvard Developments, highlighting the many exciting enhancements.
The renovation — dubbed “Transform201” — occurred between December 2019 and November 2022. The project relied on the collaboration and commitment of many local building partners, which included Stantec, Scatliff + Miller + Murray, PCL Construction, Bird Construction and TK Elevator.
Transform201 centred around the dramatic renewal of the tower’s lobby and entrance, where nearly every aspect of the space was enhanced. Elegant marble flooring was imported from Italy and installed, while the lobby’s structural pillars have been wrapped with aluminum composite panels, rising to the second floor. There, you’ll find newly installed atrium glass, providing tenants with a stunning view overlooking the reinvigorated space. Anchoring this eye-catching display is a grand 12’x8’ chandelier complemented by expansive ceiling-to-floor windows, providing an awe-inspiring
ambience throughout the foyer.
A highlight of the lobby transformation also includes the creative capture of a formerly unused space and “breezeway” along Portage and Main that, through a masterclass in design and dexterity, would become the future home of BMO Bank of Montreal’s new 7,500 sq. ft. flagship Branch. In addition, relocating from 335 Main Street successfully brought together their retail and business banking and wealth teams in one location, allowing them to retain their historic presence in the heart of downtown.
Transform201 also delivered Manitoba’s most extensive elevator modernization project, resulting in nearly every aspect of the tower’s passenger and freight elevators receiving innovative upgrades. These include touchless buttons, flush-mounted digital screens, faster floor-to-floor travel, and significantly reduced energy consumption.
Lastly, the 7,000 sq. ft. “201: Fitness” was created on the tower’s 7th floor, providing tenants with a 24-hour state-of-the-art health and wellness amenity. It features various free weights, strength machines, cardio equipment, and a spin room.
The neighbouring courtyard, which borders the intersection of Portage and Main, has also undergone a year-long overhaul, creating a vibrant new greenspace amidst the sidewalks and pavement. Here, the community can gather and socialize in a safe, comfortable environment, while a public seating area, trees, shrubs, and artificial turf give the site a welcoming aesthetic. In addition, a newly installed community stage serves as an outdoor event hub for programming and performances scheduled throughout the year. Finally, the dome skylight was converted into an artistic glass walkway, preserving natural light in the concourse below and providing additional space to the courtyard above.
Harvard Developments’ President and CEO, Rosanne Hill Blaisdell, said, “We feel strongly that being a good landlord is not just about providing office space, but about creating an amazing experience for our tenants and being an important contributor to the downtown.”
201 Portage was also proud to announce the future arrival of WOW Hospitality Concept’s “529 Uptown” — a contemporary new restaurant and bar to the tower’s lobby — slated to open in the summer of 2023. A sister restaurant of Winnipeg-favourite 529 Wellington, the 57-seat eatery will bring high-end dining with a Japanese flair to 201 Portage and be a perfect spot to grab breakfast, lunch, or wine-and-dine clients. A new chic coffee bar will accompany the restaurant on the adjacent south side of the lobby, along with a high-quality burger stand, offering tenants and guests an enticing menu of mouthwatering “Uptown” burgers. An outdoor patio will also be constructed, enabling guests to enjoy a world-class meal or beverage while soaking in the sights and sounds of downtown Winnipeg. 
Grant White, Managing Partner with Endeavour Wealth Management, says enhancements like these create an environment that will foster community and complement businesses and tenants of 201 for decades to come.
“I’ve heard that people don’t live in Winnipeg because we have abundant resources or because of the climate. Instead, they live and stay in Winnipeg because the people make a difference. Designers and architects create spaces that foster the relationships that make us unique, and that’s exactly what makes 201 Portage so special. It’s a place where people want to be and work together to make a difference.” 
With all these exciting changes, 201 Portage is set to become a new hub of activity in downtown Winnipeg, attracting tenants, customers, visitors, and tourists. The building’s refreshed lobby entrance and adjacent courtyard, combined with the upcoming addition of 529 Uptown, will create a lively and welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to linger and enjoy.
The completion of “Transform201” is not just a significant milestone for 201 Portage and its tenants, but also for the downtown Winnipeg community. The project demonstrates the ongoing commitment and investment in the area, creating new opportunities for business, entertainment, and culture.
As the city continues to grow and evolve, it’s essential to have spaces that reflect its dynamism and vibrancy. The transformation of 201 Portage is a shining example of how a building can be reinvigorated and transformed to meet the changing needs of its tenants and the community. With its fresh vibe and exciting new amenities, 201 Portage is poised to become a key destination and a shining example of Winnipeg’s best.
For more info on 201 Portage and the available spaces within, please visit https://201portage.com/leasing/