‘Coombs-like’ market slated for Saltair

Local landowner proposes an open-air market for Saltair. The unique concept will transform the development into 'a destination spot.'

John Morris proposes container structures for his Saltair market similar to Keith Dewey’s “Zigloo Domestique” in Victoria

A Coombs-like open-air market has been proposed for Saltair by a local landowner.

The proposal, dubbed the Stocking Creek Open Market, is the brainchild of John Morris, owner of Saltair Self-Storage, the Saltair Mobile Home Park and HomeFront Modulars, a Cowichan Valley modular home dealership.

Morris aims to develop the vacant lot south of the mobile home park into an open-air market where shops and restaurants — owned by the retailers themselves and managed by a strata council — would be housed in converted shipping containers.

The market’s novel and unique architecture will draw people in, Morris said, transforming it into “a destination spot.”

Common design themes liked brushed aluminum roofing and cedar siding would help make the market “visually very attractive,” Morris said, as would the development’s “green-focused” walkways and garden-like green spaces.

The development would be pedestrian-focused, Morris said, to draw people out of their cars as they wander through the market.

Morris thinks Stocking Creek would serve as an ideal location for local artisans and farmers selling the fruits of their labours. Others have expressed interest in operating coffee shops, soup and sandwich shops, a specialty wine store and a physiotherapy clinic onsite, Morris said.

Vacant storefronts and surplus retail space in nearby Ladysmith haven’t deterred Morris, who is “definitely” convinced demand for a development like Stocking Creek exists in Saltair.

“The biggest demand for this is this isn’t rental,” Morris said. “This is ownership. And it’s ownership at extremely low costs for a commercial development.”

Morris estimates monthly mortgage payments on Stocking Creek lots and buildings will be “between $450 and $600 a month,” he said, making for a “good opportunity for a lot of small businesses.”

With monthly mortgage payments costing “significantly less” than renting or leasing elsewhere, Stocking Creek retailers would cut costs while “building an asset,” Morris added.

Building up “brick-and-mortar” equity through their business would be a “huge value enhancement” for would-be owners, he added.

The market would be housed on a vacant lot, currently owned by Morris, measuring 140 feet wide by roughly 650 feet long.

Morris aims to convert the lot to a commercial strata property with a service road and common area fronting a strip of 20 individually owned lots measuring 25 by 80 feet each.

The lot, located in CVRD Electoral Area G, is currently zoned “Local Commercial” or C2, Morris said, meaning approved uses include bakeries, offices, restaurants and retail stores.

No change of zoning will be required, Morris said, but a variance on lot size and setbacks will be necessary.

Morris submitted an application for the necessary variances to the CVRD “three weeks ago,” he said, and he expects a decision in “eight to 12 months.”

Under the existing zoning rules owners are allowed 50 per cent lot coverage, Morris said. At 2,000 square feet apiece, Stocking Creek lots allow owners to “easily achieve around 1,000 to 1,100 square feet” of building space, Morris said, with room to spare on the remainder of the lot for displays or exhibits.

If a business owner requires additional space, building up is an option, Morris said, provided their design receives approval from the strata council.

The concept of using “upcycled” shipping and storage containers for homes and retail space has caught on in Europe where space is a precious commodity, Morris said, but it’s still relatively uncommon in North America. Corrugated steel containers are incredibly strong and can be stacked 10-high, Morris added, but once they’re incorporated into buildings, they’re rarely recognized for what they are.

“These won’t look like shipping containers,” he added.

If approved, Morris expects the project to have “a really positive impact on property values” in the Saltair area, he said, adding that everyone he’s spoken to “has been very positive and supportive.”

At $600 per month for 1000 square feet, Stocking Creek Open Market spaces are priced at roughly $7 per square foot per year, strata fees excluded. By comparison, lease rates for retail space in Ladysmith begin at $8 per square foot.

Jill Dashwood, a realtor with Coast Realty Group, said there are three retail locations on First Avenue in Ladysmith listed for lease at rates of $8 to $12 per square foot. Space at Coronation Mall, meanwhile leases for $14 to $16 per square foot, Dashwood added.

A number of retail spaces are available for rent as well, Dashwood said. A 2,400-square-foot, street-level space on Buller Street — the former Benjamin Moore paint store — rents for $2000 per month, while 16 High Street — formerly The Cash Store — offers 1,500 square feet of space for $1,300 a month.

“Ownership,” Dashwood said, “carries greater risks and responsibilities, but — for those that can afford it — greater opportunities, too.”

For more information on the Stocking Creek Open Market, contact Morris at 250-710-0765.

 

Just Posted

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Ladysmith Interact Club collecting food donations for those in need

On November 22nd and 23rd, Interact Club will be at the Ladysmith… Continue reading

Caps fall to Clippers in Nanaimo on Friday night

Clippers’ tying and winning goals come in less than a minute

Cowichan school district approves women’s winter shelter

The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education has approved in principle… Continue reading

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Most Read