July 12th, 2024

Coaldale breaks ground on Civic Square project

By Nikki Jamieson - Sunny South News on June 25, 2021.

Diginitaries break ground for the Civic Square project this week in Coaldale. Southern Alberta Newspapers photo

LETHBRIDGE HERALDssnews@sunnysouthnews.com

Grey skies didn’t dampen the spirits at an event for a major project on Coaldale’s Main Street.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Civic Square project was held June 24. The project will see a new commercial space and town office constructed at the corner of 18 Street and 20 Avenue.
Manager of Economic Development for the town Cam Mills said the project was three years in the making, and it was exciting to see it come to fruition.
“As the manager of economic development, this project is just wonderful for the town,” said Mills. “It’s a very innovative project, it’s an innovative approach to something the town very much needs, and it’s something that’s going to attract, or has attracted, millions of dollars in private investment into Coaldale’s downtown and to help revitalize Coaldale’s Main Street.”
The town has partnered with Shift Real Estate Investments LP, who will be developing the multi-use commercial office space. Phase 1 of the project being the construction of a new two-story commercial office building, which features a new town office, an open atrium and more than 4,500 square feet of new commercial development.
“We’re super excited for the upgrade to Main Street that this project will be, and to be a part of it,” said Mike Davis, President of Shift Real Estate Investments LP.
Shift will retain ownership of the commercial space in building during Phase 1, and from there will lease out or sell the respective commercial units for new businesses to occupy. Once Phase 1 is completed, the town will own the administrative office space on the second floor and the atrium, meeting rooms and council chambers on the main floor. Future phases of the project will include additional commercial redevelopment of neighbouring properties.
Dan Westwood, an architect and principal at FWBA, has been working with the town on the project for over a year, and said it will be “a real milestone” for the town.
“It’s exciting to work on projects that come around every couple of generations. This building will not only help facilitate the development of commercial space in the downtown, but it’ll provide a seat for governance and that will be very transparent, open council chambers that are off of the new atrium, and this atrium will be a wonderful addition to the town, it will be almost like a new living room for the Town of Coaldale,” said Westwood. “This is a very momentous project, we are very excited about the things that are happening in Coaldale.”
Coaldale Mayor Kim Craig noted while it was a bittersweet moment, as he won’t be serving in the new council chambers once it’s completed, he was happy to get to this point.
“It’s really awesome to be able to launch this project at a time where Alberta really needs a kick-start, and launching our economy back and getting it on track,” said Craig. “As a council, we’re thrilled to be able to break ground on the long anticipated Civic Square project in our beautiful downtown.”
Civic Square is part of the town’s efforts to revitalize its downtown, and Craig noted that they have seen private businesses invest in improvements, and the town’s efforts weren’t a “stand alone product.”
The town’s portion of the building will be funded through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter said he was a big fan of private-public partnerships, such as the one between the town and Shift, and the Civic Square project shows it can happen.
“When we look at those types of innovations and those types of approaches, those outside-of-the-box thinking, that’s when we can really accomplish amazing things,” said Hunter. “The Civic Square is a great example of what can happen when people put their minds together and they start thinking outside of the box.”
Hunter said the town has done a great job at revitalizing Coaldale, noting other projects, such as the joint high school and rec centre, that are on the go as well.

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