By Duncan Fletcher
After month of speculation and negotiation, it looks like the old Southwire building at Mostar and Main is about to come down and give way to a new retail – commercial development.
Since Southwire announced it’s exit from the building and community in February of 2013, the property, since purchased by Corebridge Developments has been unsuccessful in finding a suitable tenant for the unique property.
Initially the hope was for the property to be transformed into a convention centre funded by Chinese investment but the plans for that were put aside amid political opposition and business challenges. With no other serious consideration for such a building, Corebridge has applied for a demolition permit that will see the property completely flattened and ready for a rebuild by the end of the year.
Ward 4 councillor Rick Upton says the long wait for development was a loss for the Town saying that the previous proposal, campaigned against by a host of people in the most recent municipal election, “would have given us a minimum of $1 million a year in taxes, lots of employment… with no traffic, no trucks and no Pacific Mall (style commerce)” But given that there were no takers for the building as it stand, the demolition proposal and site plan which has been developed are welcome.
While not wishing to identify specific businesses that may come, he does allow that the consumer-based retail and commercial development already being drawn up in accordance with Town bylaws, in cooperation with Fieldgate Developments, will be a better fit than an empty building.
That site plan will still have to be approved by council. But with the 13-acre property already zoned for such activity, Upton believes that the process can happen quickly. “Hopefully that will be built and ready for (retail) sign-up by the end of 2017” he says.
Cutline: The empty buildings on the 13 acre site known as the Southwire property will soon be bulldozed to the ground to make way for a new retail-commercial development according to Ward 4 councillor Rick Upton who is eager to see the property developed.