Siloam Mission warehouse granted heritage status

The warehouse that houses Siloam Mission has achieved heritage building status after the homeless shelter expressed support for the designation. 

Winnipeg city council's property and development committee voted Tuesday to give a heritage designation to the Canadian Fairbanks-Morse Company Warehouse, a concrete-and-brick structure that's stood on Princess Street since 1911.

Siloam Mission moved into the premises in 2005 and initially opposed the heritage designation, which it saw as an obstacle to a $17 million expansion.

Floyd Perras, executive director of strategic initiatives for Siloam, said the shelter came on side with the heritage designation after city heritage planner Rina Ricci worked with the mission's architect.

"Two years ago, we really had no idea what the heritage status would mean, in terms of us being able to expand and care for those who came to us from the street and seeking our help every day," said Perras, adding the shelter now realizes it can expand without impacting any of the heritage elements in the building.

The building's signs and most of its facades will not be altered, thanks to the designation.

Council property chair John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) said the process that led to the Siloam decision demonstrates heritage status doesn't have to be something property owners must fear.

"It is concerning for some private building owners. They get concerned for how this is going to restrict their future abilities to develop their properties," Orlikow said.

"We're not out there and be punitive. We're out there to maintain the assets that make the city so great, but also working with developers."