October 21, 2015 - 7:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A local developer was given the green light following a public hearing this week to add to plans for a 'unique' multi-use complex in the Southgate industrial park.
A & T Ventures are planning to construct a complex containing 14 multi-family residential units as well as commercial space for a restaurant and offices at 1452 McGill Rd. Recently the company asked the city to increase its restaurant occupancy from 50 to 150 seats and to add additional office space.
City staff did not object to the restaurant seating but based on the city's official planning guide did advise against the office space. Development and engineering supervisor Eric Beech said KAMPLAN dictates office space should remain primarily in the traditional commercial core, namely downtown Kamloops.
Brad Alberts, a director of the Downtown Business Association spoke during the hearing and agreed with the rationale, arguing additionally there are a number of office vacancies already in the downtown core.
Frank Quinn, an attorney who spoke on behalf of the project’s developer, said Kamloops’ downtown buildings are very old and potential renters want more. He likened the situation to buying a home in 1980 compared with buying a home today. Where we used to be content with eight foot ceilings and melamine cabinets, people now want 10 foot ceilings and granite counter tops; the bar has been raised.
Quinn said Kamloops had the second lowest downtown vacancy rate in the country, according to Colliers International. In his opinion, businesses either left Kamloops or settled elsewhere because the city did not have the desired office spaces.
The main concern from council was the precedent it would set for future developments if they allowed this suburban office space. Chief Administrative Officer David Trawin said in his experience as a city planner there is no such thing as precedence — every development or construction project is very different from the next.
Council members eventually sided with Quinn and the developers, granting the business both its additional restaurant seating and office space.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015