Contributed photo Waters Edge Marina Development at Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan Lake’s downtown seeing commercial activity

New strip mall almost full, new marina townhouses for sale and landmark ice cream store expanding

The success of a new strip mall project on Sylvan Lake’s waterfront bodes well for the community, says the developer.

Developer Al Laplante, of Polar Creek Industries, said a microbrewery called Undercurrent Brewery and Good Earth Coffee are the last two tenants in Lakeshore Plaza, which is Sylvan Lake’s high-profile corner of Lakeshore Drive and Centennial Street (50th Street). They are expected to open their doors by the beginning of March.

A Freshii outlet got things rolling last summer, and since then, a nail salon, convenience store and furniture business have set up shop on what was the site of a former gas station.

Laplante said the businesses are “all busy and reporting great sales.”

The desire to lure more commercial activity to downtown has long been a focus of town council. Laplante said good-quality new builds such as Lakeshore Plaza will attract commercial newcomers.

“I think in downtown Sylvan there hasn’t been a whole bunch of downtown redevelopment yet, but I think what we’re doing now is stirring a bunch of development and you’ll see that continue to follow.

“I’m a believer in Sylvan and certainly downtown Sylvan,” he said. “Between the marina development and (the plaza), we have invested over $15 million in Sylvan Lake.”

The WatersEdge Marina Development, which features 25 villas, boat launch and 174-slip marina on Lakeshore Drive, was developed through Sylvan Lake Harbour Ltd., which Laplante is partnered with.

Laplante said all of the available inventory — 16 of 25 townhouses — sold out last fall, and a new showsuite is opening Saturday along with another pair of finished units.

“I could see us selling out this year. I think that’s reasonable,” he said. “If it was 2015 or 2016 the answer would have been no.”

In the marina, only about 30 of the 174 boat slips are left.

Meanwhile, a block of two east, one of Sylvan Lake’s landmark ice cream store is expanding.

Construction on a lighthouse-like feature and second-storey outdoor patio for the Big Moo on Lakeshore Drive has been underway since last year.

This week, Sylvan Lake town council approved a further addition, which will see a second storey added towards the back of the building at 4603 Lakeshore Drive.

Big Moo and its sister ice cream parlour More Moo, a couple of blocks away, have been staples on Sylvan Lake’s waterfront for years.

Town council also has plans in the works to update Centennial Street. Council sent consultants back to the drawing board late last year to revamp proposed plans.

It had been proposed that sidewalks and curbs be fixed or replaced among other small changes. However, council wanted to see a more dramatic overhaul featuring items such as new lighting.

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