District of Kitimat graphic of the downtown core plan area. (Black Press Media/Christian Apostolovski)

Lot 14 and Mountainview Square Market Assessment explores uses for the area

Kitimat council heard a report on market assessment research done for Lot 14 and Mountainview Square. In the official community plan, this area is mostly designed as City Centre.

The District of Kitimat has been working on updating its Downtown Plan, as part of the process, the district identified a portion of the downtown in which it owns several properties that might provide an opportunity to help create a sense of place and vitality.

The presentation was given by Nicole Olenick and Blair Erb of Coriolis Consulting Corporation who were retained to complete this study. The scope of the presentation looked at opportunities for private sector development and financial perspective.

“There is almost 20 individual properties in the study area, some of these are district-owned and some are privately owned,” said Olenick.

A large part of the study area is either used for parking or is vacant. Existing uses of the lot include, a gas station, assisted living complex, the courthouse, retail, grocery store and RCMP/Victim Services among other facilities in the study area.

Based on the financial analysis done by Coriolis, the viability of townhouse development is marginal under current market conditions and an apartment development is not currently viable. The focus being single- detached.townhouses.

“In the short term, the consensus was, there are clearly opportunities to provide housing linked to the LNG Canada project whether it be for employees or businesses that are serving LNG Canada and need housing in the community,” said Erb.

The research also took a look at the retail and service space inventory. According to the research, it was determined that there is an over-supply of local/neighbourhood retail space and that there was a significant outflow to Terrace in some categories such as department store, home improvement, home furnishings and specialty retail. It was also determined that there is a large inventory of vacant or under-utilized space.

Coriolis also received some comments from developers and landowners. Comments included the fact that lease rates are currently low and that the study area is a good location for new commercial space.

Some of the key implications of the study concluded the study area should be considered for a long-term opportunity. A municipal hall space was also suggested as a possible use for the area.

Following the presentation, council passed a motion to direct staff to include civic and non-market land uses with an emphasis on public spaces and amenities in the future draft Concept Plan for Lot 14 and Mountainview Square.