Tag Archives: United Health and RecPlex

Mondetta Clothing comes full circle, finds home at U of W

By Diane Poulin

In partnership with The University of Winnipeg, the first ever Mondetta Performance Gear (MPG) on Campus store opened on the second floor of the Duckworth Centre within the United Health and RecPlex, a block-long health and wellness destination.
Students and the general public will have access to the company’s full collection of fashion-forward, technically advanced active apparel. The 600 sq. ft. MPG on Campus store is staffed by UWinnipeg students in partnership with the faculty of business and economics, providing real world training and case study opportunities.

The new MPG on Campus in the United Health and RecPlex.
The new MPG on Campus in the United Health and RecPlex.

Mondetta Clothing was founded at The University of Winnipeg while all four original founders were students in 1986, so the opening of this store marks the company’s return to its roots. Two sets of brothers struck up a friendship in Riddell Hall – Ash and Prashant Modha, Raj and Amit Bahl, and the Modhas’ cousin, Pratik Modha (who left the company shortly after). Together they would go on to create a global active wear clothing company that today employs 100 people in the United States, China, Hong Kong, and at their head office in Winnipeg.
“Having first started at the UWinnipeg, it is truly an honour and a genuine joy to return with a retail outlet to serve not only the students at the school, but also the Winnipeg community at large,” says Ash Modha, Mondetta CEO. “And as we continue to see the convergence between brick-and-mortar and online stores, MPG on Campus will act as a fantastic learning experience as to how consumers in the future will change their buying behaviours.”
“Mondetta – which means small world – is truly a homegrown success story, and an inspiration to our students: hard work and perseverance do pay off,” says Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor of UWinnipeg. “We are delighted to bring this store to campus and eventually offer our business students new practicum possibilities.”
The grand opening of MPG On Campus took place on Dec.13. MPG, in partnership with a Korean manufacturing partner, has already opened 15 stores and soft shops in Seoul, which have been well-received as an alternative to the conventional offerings in the active wear market. The Winnipeg store will mark the company’s first foray in retail operations in North America and will be followed by additional store openings in the near future.

The United Health and RecPlex benefits the community at large

By Diane Poulin

The most significant recreation and wellness facility ever created in Winnipeg’s inner-city community opened in September. The University of Winnipeg United Health and RecPlex on Spence Street is a $40-million facility that will serve the campus and surrounding community for decades to come.
Programming within the facility is specifically designed to meet the needs of multiple groups: Wesmen athletes and UWinnipeg students who want to have fun and stay in shape; neighbourhood youth and residents; and amateur sports organizations requiring space.
“Since the doors of the RecPlex opened in September, it has been alive with activities, from soccer matches, rock climbing and wrestling practices, to seniors exercising, girls hoop dancing, and a weekly community Pow Wow club,” says Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor at UWinnipeg. “This is a world-class facility that is bringing people together to do exactly what was intended: create new opportunities for recreation and for improving the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and the broader community.”
In the coming weeks, construction will be completed on the skybridge linking the RecPlex with a renovated Duckworth Centre, creating a seamless flow to more health and wellness spaces and new retail options.
A state-of-the-art facility
The facility is 168,000 square feet and accommodates a 50.5 by 90-metre soccer field, which meets minimum FIFA standard. It provides new indoor training and practice space for all Wesmen teams, the soccer players in particular. It can also accommodate numerous other sports such as flag football and track and field, as well as cultural and community events. It has:
-a large multi-use artificial turf field (three cross-fields)
-a four-lane rubberized sprint track and jump pit
-retractable batting cages (for baseball practice donated by the Rettie family)
-Thomas Sill Community Multi-purpose room
-Community Gym with climbing wall
-secure underground parkade for 189 vehicles and 56 bicycles
-Great-West Life Healthy Campus and Research Centre
-Drew Olson Student Lounge
Community partners
UWinnipeg’s Athletics Department currently supports approximately 300 neighbourhood youth under the Inner-City Junior Wesmen umbrella which includes boys’ and girls’ basketball, soccer and wrestling teams. The RecPlex is also the new home for the neighbourhood Pow Wow Club and the Adventure Kids Summer Camp which attracts 1,200 inner-city children annually. The popular day camp allows children to participate in engaging activities with a focus on Indigenous science.
Over the course of several years, following town hall meetings and in collaboration with community partners, a unique Community Charter was developed with a broad coalition of 18 youth-serving agencies and community stakeholders. The Community Charter ensures community use approximately one third of the time.
Generous donors
The new facility is possible because of generous government grants, with the Province of Manitoba contributing $15 million and the City of Winnipeg committing $2 million to the project. A University of Winnipeg Students’ Association-sponsored student referendum approved a student athletic fee of $30 per term to support construction of the new facility.
Private partners, like Great-West Life, donated $500,000 to create the Great-West Life Healthy Campus and Research Centre inside the complex which allows for new research opportunities that will benefit the community, and especially inner-city youth, for decades to come. It also supports the university’s emerging Healthy Campus initiative.
An investment of $230,000 in energy-efficient features by Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart program is estimated to have the equivalent positive environmental impact of taking 119 cars off the road for one year, and will allow UWinnipeg to save $25,000 in annual energy costs. For more information on the centre, visit http://www.uwinnipeg.ca.

Time to reflect on downtown progress

A second downtown farmers' market was launched at the Workers Compensation Board on Broadway.
A second downtown farmers’ market was launched at the Workers Compensation Board on Broadway.

By Stefano Grande

It’s been a great start to the summer! Maybe not when it comes to the weather – but when thinking about downtown progress, it’s been almost perfect.
In the first quarter, we’ve seen forward movement on many initiatives, and the common thread that ties most of these new initiatives together is housing. For the first time, it feels like both social and physical revitalization are on the radar at the same time, and that strategic focus and the importance of connecting the different districts of downtown is better understood.
Here are some snapshots of what’s been happening this summer!
The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
A plan to end homelessness has arrived. With the leadership of the United Way of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, a new plan will coordinate resources and place those less fortunate into homes first, surrounded by supports. The plan shows promise to improve the health and safety of all our citizens, and help our city become a more caring and tolerant place.
Parcel 4
The proposed redevelopment of Parcel 4 and Railside Land at the Forks National Historic Site has been announced. A well thought-out, community-based plan with wide support has finally emerged under the careful direction of Forks North Portage Development Corporation. Housing forms a key part with over 700 units planned as part of a well-designed mixed-use development. While to date Waterfront Drive has been the calling card of the new downtown, Parcel 4 has the potential to match or exceed it. Developers will be lining up.
Tax increment financing
The second generation of the residential tax increment financing program has arrived. The first program of over $40 million in incentives has leveraged five times that much in private sector investment to stimulate downtown housing, which resulted in almost 2,000 units under construction or proposed under the direction and leadership of development agency CentreVenture.
A short six years ago, there was much opposition to such a large-scale program on the basis that the private sector alone should revive the downtown market. With the voices of groups like city BIZ associations and the leadership of key politicians in the province and city who understand the long-term financial implication of not directing development inward, the new program took shape.
The arrival of this second generation program, with an estimated $24 million in additional tax support, is more finely tuned and focused. Its emphasis on targeting surface parking lots; strategic focus in certain districts; and emphasis on mixed use are all elements that make this version much more powerful.
This could lead to a speedier realization of the ultimate goal – vibrancy through density and mixed-use developments. No doubt there will still be some challenges, the biggest one being if owners will bite, or simply inflate their property value and try offloading their properties, making development more difficult.
An earlier recommendation by the BIZ, when real estate prices were much lower, was for the city to simply start buying surface parking lots, controlling the market and creating strategic partnerships with the private sector, then applying the tax incentives. If you want to play the game, then think like a developer would!
More additions to the University of Winnipeg
The United Health and RecPlex on Spence Street has finally been unveiled, adding to the U of W’s vison of creating a world-class campus. First-rate sports facilities, great housing, and a walkable campus with storefronts, restaurants and more are all key ingredients in attracting students to universities, and clearly Dr. Axworthy has visited some of the best campuses in North America. His vision has taken shape at lightning speed and is perhaps a model whose approach should be replicated in other districts in downtown Winnipeg. The complex will be a boon to everyone from local youth to older soccer heroes wanting to relive lost glory.
A second farmers’ market
Office workers wanted it, so we delivered it. A second market this year has taken off with the support of the Workers Compensation Board on Broadway. The goal is to give office workers reasons to enjoy their downtown; help residents buy organic produce not sold anywhere else; and create a positive buzz in the area.
At times trying to create a conversation around revitalization can make you feel like a lone voice – especially when policy has not yet caught up. But we at the BIZ are not alone; ordinary people, politicians, administrators and many other leaders in the city share our passion and beliefs. But what is important is that these conversations spark creativity in others, whether it challenges them to think harder, or creates synergy with partners that helps get us to our goal. Conversations are good, and they must continue, because momentum is finally on our side. A great first quarter start – let’s keep it going.