By Paul Cowley
Developer Ryan Sawatzky is bullish on Red Deer.
Okotoks-based Developments 2 Inc.’s Timberlands Market project just south of the city’s new roundabout at 30th Avenue is 80 per cent leased and new prospects are calling all the time.
“The economy has, obviously, slowed down quite a bit in Red Deer but our demand for this area has not,” said Sawatzky, during a site tour on Tuesday. “We still get inquiries every week, we still get lots of new lease opportunities coming our way.
Sawatzky said given the economy the strength of the market was a “bit of a surprise to us. But it was certainly welcomed.”
Sawatzky said anchor tenant Central Alberta Co-op, and national retailers such as Pet Valu, take the long view on the economy.
“They don’t build stores just waiting for the boom times in the economy. They build stores all the time because they know they’re very solid … and they’ll be here when the economy turns around — and it will.”
Co-op’s grocery, liquor and convenience stores and gas bar are expected to be open next spring. Other nearby businesses will follow suit in short order.
Workers were busy on Tuesday working on the exterior of one of the tenants, Elephant and Castle Pub and Restaurant, which will be showcasing a new look for the chain.
“This is the first new build in Canada with the new brand,” said Sawatzky, who said it will be open next spring.
Building construction is also nearing completion on Motion Fitness, which features 5,000-square-feet of solar panels.
“It’s a very sustainable, green initiative we brought to Timberlands. That will certainly handle a good amount of their electrical requirements for that whole 30,000-square-foot facility.”
A daycare is being built right next to it.
Concrete slabs are ready to poured on another building next door and another site is being aimed at medical-themed businesses.
Other tenants so far are a nutrition store, Papa John’s, Indian take-out, dentists and orthodontist offices. A mixed-use building with commercial on the ground floor and 41 suites in three storeys above is also planned.
Developments 2 Inc. was given the chance to develop the site after coming out on top in a request for proposals issued by the City of Red Deer, which Sawatzky praised.
“They’ve been fantastic to work with. You don’t always get that.”