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Waiting on tenants in Port Coquitlam's Dominion Triangle
A soft market for retail space could delay development planned for Port Coquitlam’s Dominion Triangle.
In a letter to the city of Port Coquitlam, Onni Group development manager Jamie Vaughan said despite the company’s efforts over the last three years, market conditions have made it difficult to find tenants for the commercial properties.
The company is currently developing a retail centre in the Dominion Triangle, anchored by Walmart and Canadian Tire. When it is completed, the project will boast more than 650,000 sq. ft. of commercial space for both large and medium-format retailers.
As part of the development, the company is required to build a promenade in what is called the “lifestyle centre” at Fremont Village. This construction consists of an 18 m wide road with sidewalks on either side and at least one tree every 9 m.
Onni says it intends to complete the project but is asking the city to allow construction of the buildings and surrounding amenities to be phased in over time, Vaughan said.
“Due to the current market conditions, we are having a difficult time finding tenants for the remaining buildings of Parcel C East,” he said. “Because of this, we do not think it is feasible to construct these buildings without tenants.”
And Onni said, without tenants, the company cannot move forward with construction of the buildings because certain retailers have site-specific requirements for their locations. Until the buildings are completed, the company said it also wants to hold off on the full construction of the promenade and lifestyle centre.
“Until a tenant is found for a building, the details of the interface between the sidewalk and building are unknown,” said a city staff report to PoCo council. “Staff have no objections to the request and, from a practical perspective, concur with the developer’s opinion that the amenities are best installed at the time of the building.”
In the meantime, Onni said it will move forward with the construction of a road along Sherling Avenue and a temporary 1.5 m wide sidewalk will line the southeast side of the paved road. The company will also move forward with its landscaping plans.
In Vaughan’s letter to the city, he states Onni intends to complete the lifestyle centre when the final grouping of buildings is completed in phase 2. During Monday night’s meeting, councillors Mike Forrest and Darrell Penner sought assurances from city staff that the project would be completed as originally planned.
“I would like to know almost lock-step how this is going to be delivered,” said Forrest. “It is just not firm enough for me.”
Laura Lee Richard, the city’s director of development services, said that the city holds a landscape security from the company, funds that could be used to compel the developer to abide by the original plans.