Home improvement giant eyes Red Deer location

Lowe’s could be expanding to Red Deer.

Lowe’s could be expanding to Red Deer.

The company went before the city’s municipal planning commission on Wednesday seeking a parking relaxation for a proposed 106,720-square-foot store with an adjoining 15,469-square-foot garden centre. It would be built on undeveloped land just west of Wal-Mart and Home Depot near Taylor Drive and 19th Street.

Commission member and city Coun. Lawrence Lee said the requested relaxation was approved along with a development permit subject to a number of other conditions.

However, that doesn’t mean the project is a sure thing yet.

Rona had eyed the site four years ago and was given approval to build a 44,000-square-foot store and a garden centre on the same site. But the deal with Qualico Developments West Ltd. fell through six months later.

Lee did not want to speculate on Lowe’s intentions, but said in general terms any time a large national brand is considered locating in your community it’s good for economic development.

They represent a significant investment in the community in wages and other expenditures while boosting Red Deer’s position as a regional commercial centre.

Red Deer city standards require 469 parking spaces but Lowe’s was allowed to go with 373. The company says parking studies done a few years ago at both U.S. and Canadian stores show 3.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of store space — or 374 stalls in this case — are sufficient.

Representatives for the developer or Lowe’s could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

North Carolina-based Lowe’s is a giant in the home improvement industry and recently opened its 38th Canadian store in Lethbridge and another is coming soon in Saskatoon. Overall, the company has about 1,840 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and employs about 265,000 people.

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