Competing visions stall development at major Kamloops crossing

Development is deadlocked at a busy North Shore intersection.

Lee and Associates vice-president of leasing Sean Ogilvie told KTW development plans for an 80,000-square-foot property at the corner of Eighth Street and Fortune Drive, where Penny Pinchers currently sits, are stuck in a “holding pattern” with the city’s planning department.

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“It’s taking longer to get that redeveloped than probably both parties would have liked,” he said.

Ogilvie said a Lower Mainland family purchased the property, located at 800 Fortune Dr., a few years ago, with plans for immediate redevelopment.

A land-title search on the property reveals it is owned by a numbered company in Surrey. The mortgage dates back to 2014. Lee and Associates’ website shows plans including 23,000-square-feet of retail space over four buildings, two potential drive-thrus, space for 11 tenants and more than 100 parking stalls.

That vision, however, is at odds with what the city envisions for the second-busiest intersection in Kamloops.

“We want something high quality in that location, given how it is so important for the North Shore Town Centre,” city planning manager Rod Martin said.

“I don’t think we should settle for something that’s just a typical strip mall, automobile-oriented development.”

Martin said talks have gone back and forth at the pre-development permit application level over the last couple of years.

He said proposed plans do not comply with the city’s official community plan, KamPlan, which was finalized earlier this year.

KamPlan notes the intersection is the second-busiest in the city and calls it a “focal point” of the North Shore, due to concentrated commercial, pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

KamPlan calls for high design standards and innovative building if the property is developed, to “showcase the North Shore with significant buildings designed to make a connection to the high level of pedestrian activity existing around the area.”

Martin said the city would like to see a “landmark” development at the northwest corner of Fortune and Eighth,, complete with taller attractive buildings, pedestrian friendly design and potentially multi-use, with residential or office space.

Drive-thrus are also off the table, similar to when a nearby Subway eatery was rejected by council in recent years.

(Drive-thrus are prohibited within the North Shore Town Centre boundary, criticized for idling, traffic congestion and promoting unhealthy lifestyles.)

However, Ogilvie said the city’s vision of a “contemporary form of development” doesn’t mesh with market demand.

“Like I said, what the city wants to see on that corner is not consistent with what the tenants or retailers would like to see,” Ogilvie said. He would not, however, reveal which tenants are interested in the location.

The leasing agent deals with real estate in the Lower Mainland and called the process locally “slow and arduous.”

Martin, however, noted if the developer submitted an application, it would go before council in between four to six weeks.

Staff would not recommend approval, however, if plans did not comply with KamPlan.

Ogilvie said he hopes the city and developer can come to common ground and realize better use of the property.

In addition to significant traffic, the property is located near the airport, McArthur Island and the Tranquille Corridor, which is seeing significant investment.

In 2017, BC Assessment valued 800 Fortune Dr. at $1.76 million, with the majority of its value ($1.5 million) tied to the land. The warehouse now home to Penny Pinchers was valued at $246,000.

Penny Pinchers owner David Sakaki told KTW he has a three-year lease for the space.

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