hudson bay winnipeg

Massive Hudson's Bay store in Canada is apparently worth nothing

A historic downtown Winnipeg building owned by The Bay has been deemed technically worthless in a recent appraisal.

The 630,000 square-foot, six-storey Beaux-Arts building at the corner of Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard was opened as a Hudson's Bay Company department store in 1926 and has gone on to become an iconic staple of the city centre.

hudson bay winnipeg

The building in its heyday (Winnipeg Architecture Foundation)

But, an assessment done for HBC by Cushman & Wakefield LLC in July found that the market value of the structure is far less than most would think: approximately $0 as-if-leased at an economically viable rate.

If leased to an alternative single tenant, the commercial real estate services company says the store could be worth $8,000,000. If subdivided and leased to multiple alternative tenants, it's worth maybe $10,800,000.

The $0 figure comes from the fact that the cost of demolishing the building — which isn't suitable as-is for many potential leasers or buyers — may actually be more than the land value of the property.

This makes its "true value" 0 or even less than 0, according to property development company ICI Properties president John Pearson, who told CTV News Winnipeg that the building at 450 Portage "is at the end of its useful life."

hudson bay winnipeg

HBC's original plans for the building

Designed by Montreal's Barott and Blackader, the landmark heritage building is particularly special because it was constructed using materials sourced almost exclusively from the province of Manitoba. It was also a bit of a departure from other Bay stores of the time as far as its design.

It has has seen a number of alterations over the years, including being connected to other buildings in the area via sky walk as part of the Winnipeg Walkway system.

Fortunately, the building is protected by a heritage designation, so won't be being torn down anytime soon, regardless of its worth.

Lead photo by

Winnipeg Architecture Foundation


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