Askew’s aims for spring opening

While development at the west end of town is currently in the spotlight, plans are progressing at the top of the hill.

Progress: After significant site preparation work

Progress: After significant site preparation work

While development at the west end of town is currently in the spotlight, plans are progressing at the top of the hill.

Construction at Askew’s Foods is expected to lead to a spring opening of March or April, says owner David Askew. A crane is hoisting steel into place this week, with 220 pre-fab Douglas Fir roof panels going up in the next couple of weeks. Each panel is between 18- and 30-feet long and four-feet wide.

Energy efficiency will be key, with 100 per cent heat recovery from the refrigeration system used to heat the building in the winter.

“We won’t have to buy any additional energy to heat and cool the building other than the energy we’re buying to run the refrigeration equipment,” Askew told the Observer. In addition, a glass south-facing wall will provide a lot of natural light.

The downtown Askew’s will continue to operate as a full-service store, he said, and may undergo adaptations once the split in market develops between the uptown and downtown locations.

“The downtown store is our most successful and it’s small enough that it can operate profitably on a substantially reduced volume,” Askew explained.

Part of the top-of-the-hill project is a 10,000-square-foot branch of the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union. Construction is expected to begin in March 2012, said CEO Michael Wagner, with an opening date predicted for 12 months later.

Additional administration space is needed to house new centralized services such as a call centre and ATM balancing.

He said having Askew’s as a partner is important, as is the location nearer 30th Street SE and Canoe where growth of the community will occur.

However, that doesn’t mean the importance of the 30,000-sq.ft. downtown location will diminish.

“Our commitment to downtown is really, really solid,” Wagner emphasized, noting there’s a need to expand wealth management services and commercial lending.

Also going up in the area, but not part of the project, is a new 3,200-sq.-foot Dairy Queen with a drive-thru – a DQ Grill and Chill – at the corner of 11th Avenue and 25th Street NE.

Architect Marc Lamerton said the owners will apply for a building permit within the next three weeks, with construction expected to begin in late summer.

Approvals via Dairy Queen Canada have resulted in a later opening date than first predicted, but the restaurant is expected to open in late fall or early winter.