New Uses for Old Buildings: Organic Renewal in the West Exchange District, 1975-2010
Since 1975, the Exchange District west of Main Street has emerged as downtown Winnipeg’s most successful and interesting neighbourhoods. Built up as a wholesale warehouse district in the late 19th and early 20th century, the West Exchange is now seeing these warehouse spaces reused as loft condos, artist studios, offi ces and trendy retail, bars and cafes. This paper will examine the slow revitalization process that has occurred in the West Exchange, arguing that the lack of a major urban renewal programs and the abundance of cheap, reusable space has facilitated this revitalization. By leaving the West Exchange’s physical form intact, revitalization has been further assisted through the attraction of hipster and yupster consumers.