A Campbell River couple intends to transform the former Uptown Willie’s Cafe into a Healthyway Natural Foods store with a yoga studio upstairs.
Will and Donna Pakosz plan to improve the corner of 11th Avenue and Cedar Street with a high-quality designed building that will house the food store on the ground floor, a yoga facility upstairs and ancillary offices surrounding the site.
Will Pakosz told city council last week that the couple is excited to move in across the street from the Community Centre.
“It’s going to allow us to effectively grow our business to serve our community better,” Pakosz said, “and to integrate ourselves more intimately with the downtown core.”
Coun. Andy Adams said he’s pleased to see the building, which was originally an Arby’s, be revived.
“We’re excited as much as you are,” Adams said.
“Going into urban centres is part of downtown revitalization (and) having a market in the downtown core; and you’re bringing that forward.”
Chris Osborne, the city’s planner, said city staff see the new development as a launching pad for further investment in the area.
“It is hoped that the development could act as an ‘anchor site’ and in turn help promote further development at the other nearby sites in this area of the city,” Osborne wrote in a report to council.
“The store would incorporate a small juice bar/cafe, with associated seating, including outdoor seating located outside the southern frontage. This outdoors seating area would be contained within a cedar-framed structure immediately adjacent to the sidewalk. This is greatly encouraged to help bring animation and vitality into the street.”
Osborne had also encouraged the Pakoszes to incorporate residential units above the store, however, Will Pakosz told council he and his wife decided to stick with what they know – at least for now.
“We’re looking for a spot to grow our business concept and to create a community around that,” Pakosz said. “Having said that, there’s room for future development on the property we own. We want to get our business moved in and then (we can) look for future possibilities down the road.”
Meanwhile, council approved a development permit at last week’s council meeting to permit construction on the building.