Developer Build Laird does not like empty buildings.
“It’s not good for the town,” he says, noting that buying and redeveloping empty spaces is “so critical to the success of this town.”
His latest project is the former Canadian Tire Store on the Trans-Canada Highway, a building that has sat vacant for three years.
Laird was at the site on Friday to discuss layout options and says he is currently negotiating with three potential tenants.
He says he has been in contact with the Ministry of Highways and notes a traffic light will be established at 20th Street SW and the TCH – but when and how that happens is “the ministry’s business.”
The building will be called Westgate, says Laird, maintaining the importance of people being to identify a place by name.
The former Honda building that Laird purchased and redeveloped will get signage in the spring identifying it as the Crosstown Centre.
Successful redevelopment is something Laird began at the Mall at Piccadilly. He and the late Paul Pukas turned the ailing Cedar Centre into an attractive and thriving shopping centre.
“Pukas and I worked with a lot of people to do that and Crosstown is a viable centre too,” he says praising the Jacobson family for the build. “It has really good bones and it was our privilege to rebuild it.”
He says Westgate will feature a number of retail suites similar to Crosstown, which is now occupied by a fabric store, real estate office, weight-loss clinic and computer business.
And filling the redeveloped Westgate Centre will hinge on several other business decisions.
“It won’t be done overnight,” Laird says of creating another retail option. “It will take us a while, but we will be successful.”