River City Developments workers finish the new mezzanine in the former Cobb’s grocery store in Sylvan Lake Tuesday.

River City Developments workers finish the new mezzanine in the former Cobb’s grocery store in Sylvan Lake Tuesday.

Sylvan’s former Cobb’s being transformed

Cobb’s Block Central could be welcoming shoppers this summer.

Cobb’s Block Central could be welcoming shoppers this summer.

The Sylvan Lake building that housed Cobb’s AG Foods until that longtime store closed early last year is undergoing a million-dollar renovation that will transform it into an indoor shopping centre.

Ken Wessel, whose company River City Developments Ltd. is behind the project, said he expects work on the base building to wrap up by mid-July.

Occupants will then be able to complete the improvements required for their needs.

When the dust settles, the 5015 50th St. building will have about 26,000 square feet of usable space spread over two floors.

The two levels will be connected by an elevator and a curved stairway, with Wessel anticipating retail uses on both floors.

“We’ve had a lot of interest,” he said, adding that no deals have been struck because he’s still working on pricing.

This also applies to a prominent area on the west side of the building that’s been earmarked for a restaurant with a patio.

“We’ve had a couple of serious inquiries,” he said of the 2,400-square-foot restaurant area, which could be expanded if necessary. “They’re basically waiting on me.”

Cobb’s Clothing, which has continued to operate from the building, will remain.

Cobb’s Block Central will be condominiumized, allowing for individual bays to be leased or purchased. This, and the fact the smallest bays will be 800 to 1,000 square feet in size, distinguishes the building from other shopping centres in town.

“There is nothing else to compare it to,” said Wessel, adding that the ample parking on site offers an advantage over other lakefront commercial space.

The fact that the site is of historical significance, with A.F. Cobb operating a grocery and dry goods business there from around 1930, should also appeal to some, he said.

Wessel is optimistic Cobb’s Block Central will help revitalize Sylvan Lake’s downtown. He thinks combining a number of stores at one location will help draw people.

“If you create that destination point you’ll see a lot more activity.

“That’s why malls are so successful.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com