Big commercial growth expected for Red Deer in years to come

A new study has determined that the City of Red Deer will require about 100 acres of retail growth in the next 30 years.

The Commercial Market Opportunities Study has said South Pointe Junction will accommodate about 30 acres of short term anticipated growth and the additional 60 to 70 acres needs to be identified in a future planning.

The study was presented to City council on Monday night by Jay Wollenberg of Coriolis Consulting.

“The City asked us to help them take a long term look at future commercial development potential so they had a sense of how much development would occur,” said Wollenberg. “And they asked us to give them some recommendations on how they might guide it in terms of location and quality in order to achieve some objectives they have for making commercial development more urban in character and more pedestrian oriented.”

He added there were many positive findings that came out of the study.

“There’s a lot of growth potential over the 20 years – several million square feet of additional retail and service space so there is going to have to be some planning work to determine where to put that,” said Wollenberg. “Our main finding is that there is some opportunity we think to change the location and character of some of these centres in order to make them more attractive and have a stronger relationship with some multi family housing.”

He added while conducting the study, it was discovered that east Red Deer is underserved when it comes to retail amenities and that should be a short term focus for the City.

“At the moment there is a large bit of east Red Deer where there has been a lot of residential development over the last several years and very little commercial development so it is what you would call an underserved area,” said Wollenberg. “I think in the short term there is some catch up there. East Red Deer also has a fair proportion of the land that the City expects to be serviced and developed for housing over the next five to 10 years.”

Councillor Larry Pimm said he likes the results of the study.

“This report pulls a lot of threads together for us,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of ideas and this puts them all together.”

Red Deer City council voted in favour of using the study as a planning tool for future commercial development.