Future city growth needs studied

Red Deer will need a significant increase in commercial space, office development and apartment buildings over the next two decades, according to a report going to city council today.

Red Deer will need a significant increase in commercial space, office development and apartment buildings over the next two decades, according to a report going to city council today.

The Commercial Market Opportunities Study looked at how much more retail/service and office development is needed to meet population growth in the Red Deer area up to 2031.

Coriolis Consulting Corp. of Vancouver revealed in its report that the majority of retail growth would occur in areas outside the downtown core.

Up to an estimated 100 acres of additional land would be needed by 2031 for regional centre development, including big box stores, lifestyle retail and associated uses.

Of this total, just over 40 acres is warranted by 2021.

Locations for these mega shopping areas include the already approved Southpointe Junction north of 19th Street and between Hwy 2 and Taylor Drive. Other possible areas include east of 30th Avenue and north of 55th Street, as well as southwest of Hwy 11A on the west side of Hwy 2.

The report also says there’s a need for additional land along major roads for automotive uses, including new and used car/truck sales.

Downtown will see limited retail growth, about five to 10 per cent of total retail growth, because only a small portion of housing is likely to occur in the core. Plus most commercial development will require vehicle access and low density. The downtown also has higher land values and smaller properties.

The study also indicates that up to eight neighbourhood-scale shopping centres, most anchored by grocery stores, would be required to meet the needs of under-served existing neighbourhoods and the needs of future housing growth. Four of these “district centres” would be needed in the next decade alone.

“Downtown should remain the dominant regional business and government centre and ideally will attract a significant share of future apartment development,” says the report.

Office development should be concentrated in the downtown, a regional town centre (a dense pedestrian-oriented node of various land uses) or a district centre.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com