If all goes as planned a vacant lot on 100th Street is slated to be the location of a new strip mall development.
At their regular meeting Monday city council approved a discretionary use application for a 5,100 square-foot strip mall at 1542 - 100th St., with accessory dwelling units, in the C3 Arterial Commercial zone.
The application was made by Aaron Cadrin on behalf of LPG Holdings. According to a letter from Cadrin to the City dated Aug. 27, six different occupants would be able to use the new building.
Cadrin owns Aaron M. Cadrin Investment and Insurance Solutions Inc. - Sun Life Financial at 1512 - 100th St. His intention is to move his business to the new location and also add some staff.
His business would take two of the units in the building, the other four would be rented out. As for other potential tenants, Cadrin indicated in correspondence that he was in “very serious talks” with a new business from out of town that would result in 10 to 15 jobs being created, and there have been other inquiries from restaurants and professional offices.
The proposal also called for residential suites on the second floor to be used by caretakers and managers of the facility. That prompted considerable discussion about whether those might end up as rental suites in the future.
City Planner Ryan Mackrell noted the zoning bylaw allows suites in this area to be used for caretakers, managers and owners of the building only. They couldn’t be used as general rental suites.
In the end, that issue was not a roadblock to approval. There was also no opposition expressed to the proposed development.
Cadrin indicated in his letter that he is looking to construct a 16-unit condo building on his current property, but that project would still be a couple of years away.
The discretionary use application was approved unanimously, but council was not so quick when it came to considering a tax incentive for the project.
Tax Incentive Debate
Cadrin had applied to council for the new build incentive matching the incentives available to those building downtown. That would have abated 100 per cent of taxes in years one to three, 75 in year four and 50 per cent in year five.
The issue is that the proposed build is outside of the downtown core. Instead, it is located along the main commercial corridor on 100th Street, an area of the city that council has expressed interest in seeing development happen.
Director of Planning and Development Jennifer Niesink sought direction from council on how to proceed. She acknowledged one issue was the fact that a business was relocating, in this case Cadrin’s Sun Life Financial operation.
“We have a history in my time here of not always approving people relocating businesses,” said Niesink.
Mayor Ryan Bater also noted there was one proposed building project that was even closer to the downtown that had applied for and been turned down for the incentive recently. That application had also been for a vacant property.
Niesink noted the most relevant comparison to this situation was the Davandy strip mall on Territorial Drive and 114th Street. The Davandy development received a five-year building incentive of 30 per cent abatement on municipal taxes, followed by abatements of 25, 20, 15 and 10 per cent over five years.
That strip mall, where Little Caesar’s, Subway, Quesada and other businesses are located, was similar to the 100th Street proposal because it also built in a previously undeveloped area.
At this point, council seems to be leaning towards some sort of incentive for the 100th Street property, but one much less generous than the downtown incentive. They expressed a desire for more information, so that will come back at a future meeting before a final decision is made.
In speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mayor Bater made clear the importance council placed on following what had been done before in granting incentives.
“There’s a precedent, as well, that council needs to be wary of,” said Bater. “And I think some councillors voiced tonight some of the concerns they were having. So they required more time to think about the implications of this decision.