Co-op land developers still working on plans

With several major developments in the works, the property could become the city’s newest commercial mecca in the next couple years.

Right Now the old Co-op lands along the 4600 block of Greig Ave. are abandoned and unkempt.

With the exception of an aged building close to the railway tracks from which used furniture and other items are sold, there’s nothing to indicate the property’s past place in local commercial history when it contained a thriving grocery store and retail complex owned by the Terrace Co-operative Association.

The complex was closed in 1997 and demolished two years ago by the city after it purchased the property in late 2005.

However, with several major developments in the works, the property could become the city’s newest commercial mecca in the next couple years.

Calgary-based Superior Lodgings this spring signed a deal with the city to buy 2.79 acres, which takes up a majority of the property.

Vice-president Eric Watson said he is eager to get started building the hotel on the old Co-op lands but hasn’t made the purchase final yet.

Federated Co-op, which took over responsibility from the Terrace Co-op for a gas station on the eastern edge of the property, still needs to get it fully cleaned up.

Until that happens, the province can’t issue an environmental certificate of compliance, clearing the way for the city to officially subdivide and sell the property.

“You can’t get a bank to do the banking without a clean environmental site assessment,” said Watson.

Superior’s tentative deal with the city is worth $877,500.

The planned hotel will have approximately 100 rooms with a swimming pool and some retail.

Watson said he wants to begin construction next spring.

“We’ve always gone under the premise that we would like to start construction by next spring.

“That’s what we would be shooting for. It’s out of our control,” he said.

Also in a waiting mode is a local business group which wants to build a pub and brewery on the Co-op lands right across Emerson St. from the Western Financial Group location.

The Skeena Brewing Company first announced its plans in April 2012 by saying it had an option to buy land for $96,000.

Of the company’s key backers, Dr. Greg Linton said he gets encouraged every day by people saying they are waiting with parched lips for a first beer.

Tentative plans call for its construction and opening by 2015.

But before drawing straws to see who’s designated driver, Linton said there is work to be done to finalize the deal.

He and business partners Will Spat and Julien Rice are still trying to attract the necessary venture capital to make the brewery plan a reality.

In April, the city extended its offer to purchase the lands on 4629 Greig until late October, and Linton and the others are looking for more investors in order to cement the deal before that time.

Linton said the group is more than halfway to the $1.8 million needed for the project.

Once the money is in hand, the group will apply for a building permit.

Planned pub seating capacity is 45 seats with beer distribution from a 2,000 litre brewery taking place in the region initially before branching out to the rest of the province.

“We’re looking in the order of $10,000 to $50,000 investment for people that are interested,” said Linton, adding that there are tax incentives offered by the government.

“I am quite hopeful that we will be able to make the deal soon,” he said.