by Stephen Dafoe
A Morinville man is hoping to address the need for commercial and professional space while developing a property the community can be proud of. Rick Dozois is planning to build a $2 to $2.5 million professional building on the corner of 100 Avenue and 100 Street that will cover his three properties east of the ReMax building. Two of the three properties presently have buildings on them, a vacant building and the Pro Level Looks building.
The two-story development will sit on a 20,000 square foot footprint. Dozois is planning a facility that will have 7500 square feet of leasable office and commercial space on each floor. Presently, plans divide the space into six units on the ground floor; however, that could change depending on the requirements of potential tenants. Parking will be on the street as well as in a lot behind the building.
There is already some interest in leasing space in the facility. The plan is to break ground once there is commitment on 60 per cent of the leasable space.
“I don’t have a start date. I don’t have an end date right now,” Dozois said. “We need to know that the building can hold its own financially. When that’s the case, we’ll move ahead.”
Though zoned C1 commercial, which allows for a variety of uses, the development will focus towards being a professional building, one that could house doctors, accounts, or law firms as well as limited retail. Though focused on professional services, Dozois says he does not want to exclude any local businesses looking to set up shop or to move from a current location.
“We want to look at seeing what we can do for our local people,” he said, adding he wants a building that will make the community proud. “I have a decently long-rooted history in Morinville and I plan to retire here. That’s why the design of the building has taken shape the way that it has. I want something for my community and the people who live here. I hope it will please the town with what we’ll be able to do there.”
Keeping an historical look
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One of the highlights of the Morinville Professional Centre will be its look, which is somewhat European in feel.
“We came up with a number of different ideas and plans, most of which were all my thoughts in keeping with the historical backdrop of Morinville,” he said. “My family is French. The community was founded by French founders. So I wanted it to keep a new-versus-old French architecture while at the same time trying to incorporate some of the [neighbouring] old buildings within the design.”
The developer is hoping to front the new building with reclaimed brick from one of the houses currently occupying the properties, and honour both of the current structures with a painting inside the new facility as well as a plaque recognizing the original families who lived there. He’s also in early talks with the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society about items inside the buildings that are of historical interest.
Another design highlight of the building will be its front courtyard. Current plans would not bring the building to the corner of 100 and 100. Instead, Dozois is looking to set the front of the building back from the corner, creating a diagonal front courtyard for the development with wings heading north and west.
Despite planning a quality premium lease space, Dozois said he wants to keep leasing rates competitive. “I have a commercial real estate agent that is working with me and has done a market study,” he said. “We’re looking at other lease rates to capture what we think is fair for that location.”