Work on a major commercial and residential development in Red Deer’s southwest corner could start in a few months.
Qualico Developments West Ltd. hopes to begin groundwork on Southpointe Junction this summer, said Brent MacKay, the company’s commercial manager.
“We’re under contract with an anchor tenant right now,” said MacKay, adding that he can’t identify that tenant until some final details are worked out.
“It’s a large U.S. retailer.”
He’s optimistic site grading and servicing will be underway by summer, and construction started this fall or early next spring.
“It’ll definitely be a 2013 opening.”
Several nationally branded restaurants have been rumoured to be looking at Southpointe Junction. MacKay confirmed that Qualico has had discussions with prospective food service tenants, but said deals can’t be struck until the land requirements of an anchor tenant are known.
“There’s always been a real strong interest from the food-hospitality sector for this site. It’s a matter of trying to get the anchor in place before we can finish off any deals with them.”
Once a major tenant has been identified, the level of interest from other businesses should increase, he added. These could include other American retailers.
The fact the United States economy appears to be recovering might give companies there the capital to expand into Canada, said MacKay. Or, it could have the opposite effect.
“Generally speaking, in the longer term they’re all interested in growth beyond the borders, but if the domestic market rebounds they might focus on those opportunities that are closer to home in the near term.”
Qualico is also slated to develop townhouses and multi-family buildings in the 157-acre parcel north of 19th Street and west of Taylor Drive — but not for a while.
“It will follow the commercial, because basically we need the commercial program started in order to initiate the infrastructure that would allow the residential development to occur.
“We’d expect to be in a position to start selling from the site sometime in 2013,” said MacKay.
Although planning for Southpointe Junction dates back more than five years, with the Southpointe Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan adopted by the city in 2009, development stalled during the economic downturn. Rona Inc. received municipal approval for a 44,000-square-foot store on the site last May, but the national home improvement retailer subsequently cancelled that project.
Plans by Shell Canada Ltd. to develop a service station nearby had to be scrapped, as a result.
“The parcel configuration was set up around the Rona deal,” explained MacKay.
Qualico developed both phases of Southpointe Common on the east side of Taylor Drive.