Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

Places

Buildings

555 Empress Street

Formerly:Wiley Mercury Sales
Address:555 Empress Street
Architects:Green Blankstein Russell
Firms:Green Blankstein Russell
Contractors:G. A. Baert Construction Ltd.

More Information

555 Empress was built to house the car dealership of former Winnipeg Blue Bombers guard Al Wiley, whose previous dealership was located on Colony Street. As with Polo Park shopping mall on the opposite side of Empress Street, Wiley Mercury Sales was designed by Green Blankstein Russel Associates (GBR). An added advantage to the dealership location was that it offered customers the option of shopping at Polo Park while their vehicle was being serviced. The initial cost estimate from GBR was $350,000, with a final price tag of $750,000 in 1965.

Design Characteristics

  • The complex covers four and one-half acres, with a 23,000 square-foot building.
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  • The showroom spans 80 by 90 feet, with a mezzanine that houses business offices. It consists of a steel frame, with large expanses of glass, anodized aluminium, and a full luminous ceiling. The dealership is also notable for its large customer lounge.
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  • The first in Manitoba, the service area features a 16-foot translucent fibreglass door, which was intended to improve lightning. The fast service departments and the truck, body, and paint department are conjoined via a turnstile that allows for parts and tools to be shared between the two with minimal effort.