Let’s Grow Downtown
Brandon University is exploring an ambitious future downtown development.
Most of the conceptual development would be devoted to new residential space, with student residences as well as seniors’ housing among the options being considered. Along with the residential component, a future downtown initiative could include academic and learning spaces, plus a service, retail and commercial component. The University is exploring an overall mixed-use development that would add value to the existing neighbourhood, bringing new amenities and vitality to the downtown core, as well as providing value to the University itself and the BU community.
A pre-development report commissioned by Brandon University outlines some options, opportunities, and potential costs of the project, to help inform future discussion about the potential for BU downtown. The report, which draws on external expertise engaged by BU as well as a series of community conversations that were held to explore possibilities for the downtown site, was presented to the BU Board of Governors on March 17, 2018.
The layout and context of the BU downtown site, as well as best practice examples in other areas, help guide possible approaches approach to this project. There are different options for developing the site, including alternate locations for buildings, interim uses between phases, and public plazas. The pre-development report does not contain fully realized options, but rather selected arrangements to test approaches. Further discussions, questions and community conversations are anticipated.
Seven properties downtown have been brought together into a parcel for possible development that is nearly 70,000 square feet, covering the entire vacant southern half of the block at Princess Avenue. The properties have been assembled thanks to agreements with the City of Brandon, Renaissance Brandon, Landmark Cinemas and private landowners. Yielding tremendous value to the city and to the University for years to come, the land transfers are at minimal dollar value to facilitate the initiative while not straining the University’s financial resources.
This is an exciting development that will be transformative for both the University and for the entire city.
Having this amount of space downtown will open up new opportunities to advance the University’s priorities as stated in our Academic Plan, the themes that are emerging from our Campus Master Plan, and meet student residence needs. It also bodes well for the future of downtown Brandon. It represents one of the most significant developments for the University and City over the past several decades.
We are committed to working collaboratively with all students, faculty and staff as we fully develop plans to make the best use of this downtown space. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and vision for Brandon University’s downtown campus.