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Press Release - Economic Development
Bringing New Life to Downtown
Posted on 07/13/2020

July 13, 2020
For Immediate Release
Summerside, PE

Bringing New Life to Downtown

The City takes bold step through acquisition of properties to facilitate future renewal

July 13, 2020 - Today, City Council is turning a new chapter in its downtown rejuvenation strategy and putting words into action by acquiring several strategic properties in the downtown core. The City has finalized the purchase of four properties for just over $900,000 to start the process of upgrading and enhancing our municipal infrastructure critical to growing our downtown. The four properties include 8 Summer Street (Former Cooke Insurance Building), 285 Water Street (Former Purple Parrott Building), 4 Summer Street (Former Crockets Jewelry Building) and 12 Summer Street (Former Regent Building).

“We are excited to be taking this positive step in furthering our investments and growing our Downtown”, said Councillor Brian McFeely, Chair of Economic Development. “Not only does it allow us to address some infrastructure challenges in our downtown and open up lands for future investment, it allows us to further cement recommendations from our Public Urban Core Plan of 2017 and our Four-Year Economic Development Strategy.”

“These key properties have been discussed and debated for well over 4 years on how to facilitate a rejuvenation strategy in collaboration with all our partners, and more recently given the decaying condition of the properties being vacant in some cases dating back to 2012. Council felt something bold had to happen to support our growing downtown and investments in the core” said Deputy Mayor Norma McColeman. “This decision was not taken lightly, but when you get into a situation where there’s really no one that’s going to do it and the property and underlying infrastructure will deteriorate and negatively impact neighboring businesses, buildings and significant investments in downtown , we as a City needed to fill that void.”

Immediate plans for the block and surrounding infrastructure are still being developed, but within short order all four buildings will be demolished. This will address the public-facing condition of the buildings and allow for easy access to the municipal infrastructure. The buildings are now well beyond salvage and the only economical way forward is to remove them. The goal of this project is to help address key recommendations from our Urban Core Plan, with the overarching goal to ensure we have people living and working in downtown.

“This direction is consistent with the past actions of City Council,” the Deputy Mayor stated. “One of Council’s top priorities is redeveloping downtown. Before we entered this deal, our administration did due diligence to determine the fair market value, opportunities for collaboration and an exit strategy for the property once our work was complete, including an exit strategy that any sale will be subject to the terms of an acceptable Development Agreement that best serves the interests of the area.”

We will continue to explore funding opportunities with infrastructure funding programs, and it is our hope to have the required infrastructure updates completed during the 2021 construction season. Post demolition and infrastructure enhancements, we will be going to the market for redevelopment options for the property which will include residential and commercial opportunities. The goal is to complete this work in order to provide a clean development opportunity for this site once all the work is complete.

Today we have taken a major leadership step for our downtown and while this is not the City’s common practice to acquire properties outright, we felt there has been a huge void in the city in regards to addressing gaps in our city, supporting both our public and private sector investments in downtown and one of our goals has been to find a collaborative way to address significant issues in our community when it comes to our building stock. This strategic move for the citizens of Summerside will bring many benefits to the business community, our downtown and further strengthens our downtown to enable further growth within our city.

Contact Information

Councillor Brian McFeely
T: 902.439.3326
E: brian.mcfeely@city.summerside.pe.ca

Deputy Mayor Norma McColeman
T: 902.786.8476
E: norma.mccoleman@city.summerside.pe.ca

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