CentreVenture’s two new initiatives

CentreVenture Development Corporation held its annual general meeting on May 13. The standard reporting of last year’s accomplishments were covered along with communicating CentreVenture’s future direction with its new three-year (2014-16) business plan. 
CentreVenture also unveiled two new initiatives, PUSH, a new pop-up retail program and the SHED Façade and Storefront Improvement Program.
PUSH is a year-long pilot-project modeled after similar pop-up retail concepts seen in other major cities.  The project pairs start-up retailers with vacant downtown storefronts on a short-term, low-risk basis.  The aim is to help reactivate ground floor retail in the downtown, create opportunities for retailers to test the downtown market, draw more shoppers downtown and potentially generate long-term lease deals on formerly vacant spaces.  
PUSH opened its first pop-up retail storefront in the Exchange District in the Silpit Building, located at the corner of Arthur and McDermot, in partnership with a group of local sellers, makers, artists and designers operating as Exchange Uporium. 
CentreVenture is currently working towards securing other PUSH locations throughout downtown. 
The second program announced — the SHED Façade and Storefront Improvement Program — is designed to assist property owners to make improvements to their building façades in the SHED district and nearby identified areas.  
Delivered in partnership with the province of Manitoba and the city of Winnipeg, the façade and storefront improvement program is intended to encourage commercial building owners to invest in façade renovations and storefront upgrades by providing matching grants to cover a portion of renovation costs.  This initiative is part of a broader effort to beautify the public realm, attract more people and businesses to the area, and stimulate additional investment in the district and
surrounding area. 
CentreVenture also introduced its new business plan.  Building on the successes over the last three years, it reflects the directional focus and priorities of CentreVenture’s board of directors and management team for the next three years.
Two key questions serve as the thematic basis for the new business plan:
• Why is the downtown important?
• How can we make downtown a better place?
In terms of the first question, “Why is the downtown important?” the downtown is a crucial component of any city’s identity — it reflects the city’s legacy and can be a harbinger of the city’s future. A healthy downtown is indicative of a healthy city. It is the economic, cultural and civic engine of the city, region and province. In many ways, its condition and appearance are a reflection of the city’s commitment to itself and its presentation to the world.
In regards to the second question, “how do we make downtown better?” it is about creating the conditions so more people choose to live downtown, so more retailers and businesses choose to locate downtown and smore people choose to come downtown, not only for its diverse shopping, dining, entertainment, educational and cultural amenities, but also simply for the experience.
Though it is often easier said than done. The path to a vibrant and healthy downtown requires a long-term vision, creativity, tenacity, consultation and collaboration with strong and committed partners. It also requires the orchestration of a myriad of initiatives that address issues related to safety, social and economic development, and great design to make downtown more livable, inclusive and diverse.
Accordingly, the new business plan sets out five key priority areas, which largely build on our existing initiatives, including continued development within the SHED, further advancing implementation of the Portage Avenue Development Strategy, exploring new redevelopment opportunities along Main Street and our ongoing commitment to promote and facilitate residential development downtown. 
While there have been many success stories and significant momentum over the past few years, there is still considerable work to be done. CentreVenture’s new business plan demonstrates a continued commitment to a vibrant and healthy downtown.
— provided by CentreVenture.