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Housing, pedestrian mall, and commercial development for downtown announced

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by Northern Savings and City of Prince Rupert
Mapping shows the development area of a potential new city center with possible housing, commercial space, and a pedestrian mall. The proposal, a partnership between Northern Savings Credit Union and the City of Prince Rupert was announced July 20. (Image supplied)

A request for proposal (RFP) to property developers for a new city center with potential housing and a pedestrian mall to be built by June 2023 is the result of a partnership between Northern Savings Credit Union (NSCU) and the City of Prince Rupert.

The enterprise initiative monikered Prince Rupert Gateway, was announced on July 20, in a press release from the city, with a request for proposal posted on BC Bid. Details outlined in the RFP list the contemplated development for the corner of McBride and Third Ave. W being completely reconfigured as a new gateway into the city.

“The intention of this phase of the Gateway Project is to attract interest from qualified developers and work with community partners to completely rebuild the intersection at McBride and Third Ave. W. and significantly enhance the downtown experience in a big way,” Lee Brain mayor of Prince Rupert, said.

The partnership between the city and the credit union is solidified by the signing of a memorandum of understanding, the city stated in the media release.

“The City of Prince Rupert is very excited to be working with Northern Savings Credit Union, and adjacent property owners, to begin the transformation of Prince Rupert’s downtown core as outlined in our Rupert 2030 vision,” the mayor said.

The real estate proposal frames the scope of work to include 15,000 to 20,000 sq. ft for a new Northern Savings Credit Union, 10,000 sq. ft. for civic institutional use, and possible space for Prince Rupert Port Authority.

Additionally, the city would like to develop the lands and roadway adjacent to the current NSCU location into a pedestrian mall with covered areas, public amenities such as landscaping, public seating, and art.

“The credit union is committed to building sustainable communities through working alongside community partners. The Gateway Project is a natural alignment for us to not only create a new facility for our members, clients, and staff, but to contribute to the revitalization of Prince Rupert’s downtown core as part of the Rupert 2030 vision,” Bob Marshall CEO of NSCU, said.

The RFP, which is hoped will attract property investors and developers has several caveats and conditions to be completed under a less than two-year timeline, starting with the contract to be entered into by Sept. 2021, road closure on Third Ave. W. and land purchase by Feb. 28, 2022, all permits and approval applied for by May 2, with the commencement of construction by finishing the foundations and footings before June 2. Buildings, pedestrian mall, and occupancy are expected to be completed by June 1, 2023.

The interested entity must first purchase the proposed development sites, design concept plans and construction documents, obtain all approvals and permits, arrange for project financing, be responsible for construction, then, once the venture is complete be responsible for marketing and sales of the developed space. As well, the first right of refusal must be granted to NSCU and the city for specified space.

 K-J Millar | Journalist 
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