The first steps are being taken to get a proposed downtown commercial development in Turner Valley built as quickly as possible.
“We are ready to go now,” said developer Peter Sutherland. “We’re hoping for April 1, if we can get things along now — we are ready. There is nothing really holding us up.”
The proposed development, located at 108 to 112 Main Street directly north of the Royal Bank, will be a single-storey building, between 9,000 and 11,000 square feet, providing space for four to six businesses, Sutherland said.
“It would also be designed to be pleasing to the Main Street,” Sutherland said.
Turner Valley council passed a motion at its Feb. 16 online public meeting to begin the process of closing a laneway north of the site which will be needed for the development.
The grass laneway, which is owned by the Town, is undeveloped and not being utilized.
Jason Spicer, who is partnering with Sutherland in the development, told council there has already been interest in the development.
“The businesses themselves could range from smaller artistic shops, perhaps meat shops, restaurants, the number of inquiries is just starting to trickle in,” Spicer said. “Of course, we haven’t got the permit, we haven’t got the advertising going yet.”
Coun. Jonathan Gordon asked the developers if the closure and sale of the laneway did not proceed would it kill the proposal.
“We would really like to see it,” Sutherland said. “It changes the footprint of the building and of the courtyard. We need that extra square-footage for the courtyard to make it functional.
“I’m not going to say it will kill the deal, but it would definitely stimulate a conversation.”
Paramount to Sutherland and Spicer is Turner Valley currently considering a bylaw that would not have parking restrictions for businesses in the downtown area.
Gordon asked the developers what the effect of the proposed parking bylaw was on their decision to proceed with the development.
“The fact that you have done that has brought us back to the table,” Sutherland told Gordon. “We were going to start on this a year-and-a-half ago, and left because of the parking bylaws.
“It is the only thing that brought us back to the table – it was a huge deal.”
Sutherland said, in an interview, now is an opportune time to develop in Turner Valley.
“I think there is opportunity for small businesses in Black Diamond and Turner Valley,” Sutherland said. “We are going to make a really good-looking building and hopefully it will open some doors for small businesses.
“It’s going to help revitalize Turner Valley.”
He added he is enthused by the number of visitors in the Turner Valley area from Calgary and surrounding area over the past 11 months.
He added he expects the south ring road extension in Calgary will also bring more traffic to the area.
“A lot of people have sort of rediscovered this area, which has been great for small businesses in the area,” Sutherland said.
“Michelle Ouellette, director of development and Infrastructure, advised council "the next step in the process is to prepare a road closure bylaw for the undeveloped lane if the developer would like to acquire that land from the Town.
"Public notification and a public hearing process is required for the road closure so the public will be made aware when this is being brought forward.
At this point, a development permit has not yet been formally submitted for review.”