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A notorious inner-city hotel long plagued by violence is undergoing a transformation that will include a walk-in medical clinic and a drop-in centre for families in need.
Three investors formally took ownership of the Balmoral Hotel — and the beer vendor on the same lot — Nov. 1. The hotel at 621 Balmoral St., will be gutted from the inside out and renamed Pimicikamak Wellness Centre, complete with a medical clinic, pharmacy, daycare centre, bus depot and local non-profit organization 1JustCity providing free meals and wellness programming in the basement. The beer vendor will be turned into a walk-in clinic.
The 44 existing hotel rooms, which are primarily used by residents of northern First Nations making medical visits to the city, will be renovated. The plan is to offer transportation to and from medical appointments.
Pimicikamak Cree Nation, entrepreneur Kam Khaira and Winnipeg psychiatrist Dr. Antonio Paletta, who purchased the property after it went up for sale earlier this year, have invested equally.
“We’ve already shut down the lounge, the VLTs have been removed, the beer vendor is being wound down and we’re going to have, essentially, a business in the area that’s going to be providing medical services,” Paletta told the Free Press Monday.
Renovations on the basement have begun, with 1JustCity set to be in place in January, and for the full transformation to be complete by the end of 2024.