Campbell River Common is moving its businesses to the front and expanding its storage operation in the back in the months ahead.
Several of the indoor mall tenants are moving, some in the near future and some will have until the beginning of next May, says Allan Edie of Edie & Associates, which operates Campbell River Common.
“We’ll be making some changes internally,” he told the Mirror.
Six years ago, council approved a plan to use the back of the space as a storage facility for boats, RVs and other vehicles. The plan now is to open up the corridor again in the middle of the building, though it will be smaller, and use the back of the space for additional boat and vehicle storage rather than as retail space. Edie says that’s where the demand is.
“Our boat storage business, we sell out every year,” he said. “There’s a demand for it, we’ve got a waiting list.”
Inside, they will be reclaiming some vacant or common areas to use for the storage area. Remaining clients will be relocated to the front of the building, while others have chosen to leave.
“In essence, it becomes a strip mall up front,” Edie said.
He knows there are plenty of rumours floating around about the facility, but these are coming from people with no knowledge of the finances of the operation or the demands for space. He adds that he understands the situation for many retail clients, saying they need people to come into their businesses in order to stay afloat. For some, this has meant it is time to move.
“They die or they move elsewhere,” he said. “If the community doesn’t support the businesses that are in our building or anybody else’s building, those businesses don’t survive.”
Ultimately, the community itself determines what works. Edie points out retail habits have changed and the demand for space at indoor malls is not what it used to be. At the same time, with the boating nature of the Campbell River area, space to store boats is needed. He likens the change to that in New York City where buildings that once functioned as warehouses a century ago now provide high-end loft apartments.
“Just because a building was … a warehouse a hundred years ago in New York doesn’t mean it’s going to be a warehouse for the rest of its life expectancy,” he added.
Edie expects the work to renovate the space at the back of the facility to begin on May 1, with perhaps some beginning earlier if some tenants leave in advance. He expects the work next spring to total between $300,000 to $400,000.