Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Door Opens, Another Shuts

So the emptied United Army Surplus building -- which you'll recall I'd written about previously -- has been bought by the University of Winnipeg with the intention of converting it into bookstore space. And other miscellaneous retail space, if they can squeeze it in.

Good! That's definite progress, and I'm happy to read this news.

Uptown readers will remember that I'd hoped the University would buy up the A&B Sound building. The old United Army Surplus store may not be the distinctively tricoloured, outlandishly large, prominently vacant downtown building that I'd specifically thought of -- but you have to admit, I was damn close on this one!

The University of Winnipeg gets more space (and oh boy have they been snapping up whatever they can find lately), and our downtown becomes the slightest bit less empty. I can dig it! Unfortunately, the tradeoff is that we'll lose that hilariously anachronistic "WARNING" sign atop the building; such are the sacrifices made in the name of progress.

God, I love that sign.

I wonder -- who would I contact at the University of Winnipeg about buying those charming handpainted signs on east wall of the building? Those would be kind of nice to have, as a quaint sort of local novelty item. How often do you see people handpainting huge signs anymore? I mean, really now!

In the meantime, another longstanding Winnipeg institution hangs in the balance; Pollock Hardware is on the bubble, and unless its nearby supporters come up with a plan pronto the place will be liquidated and quietly boarded up. Which is nothing new for buildings on Main Street, granted, but isn't exactly the best option available -- and I can guarantee with reasonable certainty that the University of Winnipeg probably wouldn't buy this one up, considering its comparative location.

(Most city powerbrokers are quite happy to pretend that the entirety of Main Street vanishes just north of the Museum. It's more palatable that way.)

Man, bad year for local business mainstays! The old Canadian Tire at Isabel and Notre Dame was closed up back in April, Surplus went belly-up in the summer, and now Pollock Hardware is singing its swan song; would it be giving our fine Mayor too much credit to assume this is part of his grand plan to keep stores from selling spray paint to minors? He's very serious about it, you know! You get 'em, Sam!


W4 said...

I look at that sign and have Darius flashbacks:

"Warning: A Huge Bookstore Is Approching Fast."

vidstudent said...

Don't empty, abandoned buildings *encourage* the use of spraypaint by youths?

James Howard said...

Well, of course they do! But if we had the slightest idea what to do about those, we wouldn't have so bloody many of them kicking about.

Besides, there's no surer a win-win scenario than cracking down on minors; you get to look tough and you don't have to worry about backlash, because kids under eighteen can't vote! It's brilliant!