By Stephen Dafoe
St. Albert – Work will soon be in full swing at a development many Morinville residents pass each day on their drive to work. Developer Landrex has confirmed Costco will anchor a development in St. Albert’s north end that will be similar to South Edmonton Common. It is anticipated the big box retailer will open its doors this fall and the full development would be completed within a couple years.
Landrex President Troy Grant said a deal was finalized last week between Landrex, Costco and Cameron Development. “What a great day this is, not only for St. Albert but the entire region because we believe in building a strong economic community surrounding our residential communities,” Grant said, adding he was proud of the work that has gone into the development. “Costco is going to open their doors in the fall of 2013. They’re putting pilings in the ground right now on their pad. If you drive through that area you will start to see activity next week, if you are not seeing it already.”
Grant said the proposed Costco will be comparable in size to the Costco on 149 Street in Edmonton but will have a liquor store and attached gas bar. Grant said he was unable to disclose just what Cameron Development is putting in to compliment the Costco development; however, he said it would be similar in concept to South Edmonton Common. Grant said he anticipates a third of the development to be open with stores by next spring.
Developer sees a benefit for St. Albert and Morinville
In addition to approximately $1.2 billion in additional commercial and residential assessment for St. Albert as a result of this and related developments, Grant anticipates Morinville will also see an increase in assessment because people will choose to settle in the community in part due to the proximity to the development to the south.
He also dispels comments he has heard that the development will make it tough for Morinville businesses to compete. “I would say the type of commercial activity that Morinville has in place currently and planned would only be supplemented by these larger box stores coming in,” Grant said, adding larger developments often springboard smaller developments in their region. “It’s going to serve to support the community of Morinville which will only attract people to Morinville, which is already moving along at a very great rate.”
Grant said his company has a strong growth projection in place for Morinville and are already fielding calls about their commercial land near No Frills. “That has become incredibly popular by demand,” Grant said. “There are a number of people looking at that commercial site right now and wondering if there should be a hotel there. The Town has a great hotel impact assessment. By definition, the town is ready to have a first-rate hotel move in.” The Landrex president went on to say interest in the property is causing them to move quicker on the Morinville property than they had planned to. “We thought that was going to be a little further out and didn’t really foresee that the growth we were having in north St. Albert might affect the growth in south Morinville. But that’s what we are seeing happen.”
Chamber sees development as little threat
Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce vice President Simon Boersrma said he does not see the development as a threat to local business. “As Chamber we are going to continue promoting the fact that we’d like to have people shop locally,” he said, adding urban projects, including community gardening, continue to draw the community closer together. “As people become more aware of their local community, I think shopping local is going to continue. Big malls are going to pop up and I believe that our community is going to thrive even with that because we have things the bigger communities aren’t able to offer. Morinville is going to continue to grow and have that community atmosphere.”
Boersma agrees with Grant the development will likely drive further residential growth in Morinville and that growth will bring with it new businesses. “It is going to fuel our housing market for sure,” Boersma said. “People are going to look at our smaller community and it probably will bring more people here. Then we, as a community, need to assist people in teaching them that local shopping is great, and hopefully we will get the spinoff in the local businesses.”
The Chamber vice president said he has personally witnessed considerable growth in Morinville’s restaurants during the day. “The restaurants are full at lunch time as compared to a couple years ago,” he said. “I know that that part of business is growing quite a bit. I believe that as we get more houses … that will start to drive other forces in town.”
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