Belmont Market takes shape in Langford

The first phase of the $93-million Belmont Market is on track to open this fall at a former high school site in Langford.

Thrifty Foods’ new parking lot is completely paved, showing that the “on-site work is well underway,” said Trevor Lee, senior vice-president of western Canada for developer Crombie REIT.

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A planned 52,700-square-foot grocery store is the anchor tenant for Langford’s newest retail hub. A new Thrifty Foods 12,500-square-foot office is being built as well.

Eventually, 160,000 square feet of retail space will be developed, with 683 parking spaces, Lee said. A final 1.5-acre chunk will remain for potential development in the growing community.

A total of 19 tenants have been confirmed, Lee said. They will fill about 100,000 square feet. Negotiations are underway with other potential tenants, he said.

Tenants include Scotiabank, KFC, A&W Canada, Westland Insurance, Great Clips, Fatburger, Anytime Fitness, Freshii, Cali Nails and a dental clinic.

The market is about 96 per cent leased for the initial phase, and 62 per cent of the entire project is leased overall.

“We are pretty excited about getting to this stage and there’s quite a bit of momentum now. I’d say we are starting to see a lot of tenants come to the table because they see the shovels in the ground,” Lee said.

The $93-million price tag includes construction costs and soft costs, such as hiring of architects and engineers. The project has about 40 consultants and office staff, plus 175 trades workers.

A water tower will be a key architectural feature in the market, which has been designed with what Lee calls a “rural contemporary” theme. “The design concept was developed which utilizes simple building forms and materials reminiscent of rural buildings, with contemporary materials and functionality.”

By the time road allowances and other improvements are taken into account, Crombie has 17 acres available to develop for its Belmont Market buildings, Lee said. The entire build out is expected to be finished in 2020.

Langford prides itself on cutting red-tape to avoid delays in vetting development proposals. “From Crombie REIT’s perspective, working with the City of Langford has been great,” said Lee. Crombie REIT is a real estate investment trust, based in New Glasgow, N.S. It has assets of $4.6 billion and 284 properties, according to its website.

Empire Company Ltd., of Stellarton, N.S., owns the Sobeys Inc. supermarket chain, which includes Thrifty Foods. Empire has about 40 per cent ownership in Crombie REIT. Both Empire and Crombie are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In 2014, the former site of Belmont Secondary School was sold to Sobeys. Two years later, Empire and Sobeys announced agreements with Crombie REIT for a Sobeys sale and leaseback of 19 retail properties, along with sales of development sites.

A total of five acres that was part of the school site is now owned by Ledcor Properties Inc., which marked the start of construction in early March for its $200-million Belmont Residences project. This will see 440 housing units built as condominiums and rental. A total of seven buildings are planned to go up with in the next five years.

Crombie will take ownership of the retail on the ground floor of two Ledcor buildings, which have rental housing on the upper floors, Lee said. Those buildings are within the Belmont Market property, where a total of 15 buildings are planned.

Mayor Stew Young praised the Ledcor development last month, saying people will be able to live in those homes and work across the street at Belmont Market.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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