Construction of Investors Field, the new home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2013, has residents of Fort Garry and Fort Richmond concerned about the impact it will have on their communities.
Two burning questions are front and centre: how will property values be affected, and how will the changes to local infrastructure impact the area?
A third question has also presented itself: how will game day traffic impact the neighbourhoods surrounding the stadium?
For the time being, the latter two questions are largely a matter of speculation. However, it is possible to gauge the stadium’s impact on property values in the here and now. Irrespective of the stadium’s completion date, people are going to continue to buy and sell single-family homes. After all, people need a place to live.
So far, the stadium’s presence appears to be having little effect on property values. The recent sale of Tom and Eileen Hutchison’s 1,100-square-foot bungalow is proof of that.
“When we put our home up for sale in May, the stadium didn’t enter our mind as a negative factor,” said Tom, who just retired from his position of veterinarian pathologist at the University of Manitoba and will be moving with his family to Ontario. “All our REALTOR® said was that our location — we’re relatively close to Pembina Highway — might cause us to get a slightly lower selling price than homes farther away.
“Other than that, he said there wouldn’t be any affect. He didn’t even mention the stadium.”
As it turned out, the Hutchisons’ REALTOR® was bang-on in his assessment. The tidy bungalow, which featured a renovated kitchen and bathroom plus a lower level with a newer rec room and a fourth bedroom, was the object of multiple bids.
“We received six offers,” said Hutchison. “That was just great. What was also great was that we got almost $38,000 over the asking price.
“I think it’s fair to say that if people were concerned about the stadium’s impact on the area, there wouldn’t have been multiple bids, and we wouldn’t have gotten the price we did,” he added.
REALTOR® Cole Castelane of Century 21 Bachman & Associates, who specializes in selling homes in Fort Garry, Fort Richmond and south Winnipeg, said that Investors Field will be a positive presence once it opens for business.
“I don’t foresee it having any adverse effects on the area around it,” he said. “It’s going to be a cool addition that’s going to add new life. You’re even seeing that now with the roads in and around the stadium being expanded and resurfaced, which will ultimately improve traffic flow.
“I think the stadium is going to create a new synergy that will ignite people’s desire to experience not only the stadium,” he added, “but restaurants, bars and stores in the area. The economic spin-offs could be huge.”
Peter Squire, a market analyst and director of public affairs with Winnipeg REALTORS®, concurred.
“I’m bullish on the stadium,” he said. “I really believe it’s going to have a tremendously positive effect on the area with all the infrastructure upgrades, such as the roads and improvements to the campus (for example The Frank Kennedy Building).
“There might be a bit of a mess now with all the construction (the stadium and roads),” Squire added, “but when everything is said and done, it’s going to be a great area to live. I see property values staying intact, even appreciating.”
The only question remaining is how local residents will be affected by game day traffic and hoopla.
It’s only a minor concern, according to Fort Richmond resident Robert Stermscheg.
“As residents of a nearby condominium complex, we’re a bit concerned about people parking in and around our complex,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. More than likely, there’ll be some noise and traffic to deal with on game days, as well as during occasional concerts.
“Hopefully, businesses around the stadium will benefit, and the impact of game and concert patrons on residents will be minimal,” he added.