Thrifty’s spurs development in Maple Ridge

Incentives, district land purchase also helped

  • Jun. 2, 2011 4:00 p.m.
Falcon on the River will be built on River Road by the Billy Miner Pub.

Falcon on the River will be built on River Road by the Billy Miner Pub.

A downtown developer is pointing to a trio of triggers that have moved a stalled project on 119th Avenue into the build phase.

Work should begin soon on a $23-million two-building condominium complex on 119th Avenue and 226th Street, said Fred Formosa.

“The plan is to start in the middle of summer,” he said Wednesday.

“We want to get in the ground before the winter. Hopefully from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1 will be a start time.”

The application was approved in 2008 with a two-year building stage, followed by another year’s extension.

The building will have four storeys with shops on the ground floor. It will be built in two phases and have a total of 96 units.

The new year’s announcement that Thrifty Foods will open at the east end of Haney Place Mall got the project underway. Having a food store across the street from a residence is a nice feature, he added.

“If you can be near a nice food store and you can build yourself some nice condominiums, people like that. It makes them want to walk and go shop. I’d say the Thrifty’s is the trigger, not the Target.”

The Zellers store in Haney Place Mall will become a Target store in 2013 after the U.S. company bought the Zellers chain last year.

The District of Maple Ridge’s purchase of the dozen or so old homes on Selkirk and 227th Street also helped.

“I’d have to say that’s another one [trigger].”

It’s not good to build a complex and to try to sell new units that are near run-down buildings. Maple Ridge bought the three acres last year and is now tearing down the old houses in preparation for selling the property to a developer.

“That is another thing that’s got us going.”

It’s not so much the money but the willingness of the municipality to expedite the projects that helps.

“They’re trying do their part, so let’s do our part.

“It doesn’t add up to much. It’s just that they’re saying, we’re open for business.

“What they’re saying is, ‘Come on in, man, we want to do some business.’”

Formosa said the downtown project will be called Falcon Centre, while another project currently going through rezoning will be called Falcon on the River.

That will be built next to the Billy Miner Pub on River Road, across from the West Coast Express, and have 43 condos. Construction of that will start shortly after the downtown project begins.

That new project will be built kitty-corner to the first project on 224th Street, the other side of the Haney Bypass at 11566 224th St., that is the first to take advantage of the cash handout the district gives to attract development.

KBS Development of Vancouver will get $31,094 as a 10-per-cent refund of its development cost charges.

Formosa said clay soil conditions in Maple Ridge makes it expensive to build high rises, which aren’t yet supported by market conditions.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said another project that’s been spurred by the incentives is at 222nd Street and 123rd Avenue and proposes the building of 109 residential units.

Another 75-unit four-storey condo is being proposed for 11885 Burnett St.