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Winnipeg’s largest, most sustainable infill development breaks ground

Southwood Circle will be a complete community, home to more than 20,000 people once it’s finished.

Ground breaking has taken place on what’s being called the largest and most sustainable infill development in the history of the City of Winnipeg.

The event marks the beginning of the city’s newest neighbourhood: Southwood Circle, which will be a complete community, home to more than 20,000 people once it’s finished. The University of Manitoba (UM) campus, Smart Park and Southwood Circle will have a combined daily population of residents, students, staff and faculty of over 60,000 people when complete, effectively making it the second largest city in the province.

“In many ways, Southwood Circle will be a model community, based on what we know makes healthy, vibrant neighbourhoods. That means it’s walkable, it’s diverse, it promotes active living, and it’s sustainable,” said Greg Rogers, CEO of UM Properties, the general partner and independent land development company guiding the creation of Southwood Circle. “This community has been planned with careful attention to Indigenous design principles that embrace the need to live in harmony with nature and with one another.”

Southwood Circle is part of a transformation of the 110-year-old Fort Garry campus from a daytime commuter destination to a complete community, UM Properties officials said. The University also expects to benefit financially from its ownership of UM Properties, which will manage the leasing of parcels of land throughout Southwood Circle in the years to come.

The Southwood Circle design team, including Anishinaabe architect Ryan Gorie, was tasked with designing a community that embraced nature and preserved the 5,000 trees presently located on the property, some as old as 300 years. The team created a park network of existing forest for trails and to serve as wildlife corridors. The park network totals over 21 acres, twice the municipal requirement, and includes over nine acres of waterfront park. Under the Southwood Circle forest management plan, two trees will be planted for every tree that is removed. An on-site tree nursery is planned to supply new trees.

In addition, the future National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) will be located on Southwood lands granted to the NCTR by the University of Manitoba.

UM Properties has divided the land into parcels that it will lease to third party developers who will be responsible for building the development in accordance with UM Properties design guidelines. The first call for proposals went out in summer 2023 and construction on the first buildings is expected to begin in 2024. All told, the neighbourhood is expected to be home to more than 12 million square feet of new residential, commercial and institutional space representing more than $5 billion in private investment in today’s dollars.

Southwood Circle will use existing city infrastructure, including sewer and water pipes, roads and transit services. The new residents will only be a short walk away from the University of Manitoba campus, UM Properties officials said, which features fitness facilities, stadiums, a theatre and much more.

Once completed, Southwood Circle will be one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city, UM Properties officials said, and will include a range of housing options from affordable rentals to luxury condominiums.

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