Solterra Plans Public Market, Climbing Gym, and Bike Park in Squamish

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An artists rendering of the business park at full build out.
Photo: Submitted

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March 26, 2014

A Vancouver-based development company with old ties to Squamish is planning a public market, an indoor mountain bike park and a climbing facility in town.

This summer, Solterra Development Corporation will start work on a public market in the former PacWest building, across from the Howe Sound Inn, on Cleveland Ave.

“The idea is to let entrepreneurs set up shop to experiment with business ideas and concepts.” Mike Bosa, Solterra’s vice-chairman

Solterra will also build an indoor mountain bike park and a climbing facility on a portion of the 20-acre business park the company bought from the district in 2012.

Mike Bosa, the company’s vice-president, gave a presentation to the council at a committee of the whole meeting on March 25.

Inspired by public markets such as Granville Island, the seven day a week market in downtown Squamish will enable entrepreneurs to lease space from the company and test their ideas.

From jewellery to clothes to exotic food and spices to artist’s clinic, any idea worth pitching will be considered.

“It’s really based on an incubator model,” said Bosa.

“The idea is that entrepreneurs can set up shop to experiment with business ideas and concepts.”

Out of 32 spots, seven would be for bigger permanent businesses, while there will be five temporary and 21 semi-permanent spots for other busiensses.

Solterra is known locally for Eagelwind, a collection of townhomes, duplexes and condos in downtown Squamish.

The company is now completing 16 townhouses near the Squamish Seniors Centre and is set to begin construction on Nature’a Gate, a 50-unit townhome development near Eaglewind.

Bosa said the public market would be a great amenity for those who bought homes from the company in downtown Squamish, and for the entire downtown community.

“The idea is to bring more people downtown Squamish and make it a destination,” he said.

Bosa said the facility downtown won’t be a farmers market, but a public market which would be open seven days a week.

At the business park, Solterra is working on a climbing gym, with over 8,000 square feet of climbing terrain. Also on the cards is an indoor bike training centre called District 99, built and run by Scott Jewett, a national event manager for Red Bull.

District 99 would have training facilities such as dirt tracks, wooden and rock obstacles, a foam pit and trampolines.

“We are trying to design a rec-tech centre for excellence, and they will be out anchor tenant,” Bosa said.

An indoor facility for both sports would give children and professional athletes train during off-season, Bosa added.

One of these anchor businesses would be located on the north-east corner and the other on the south west section.

The land is currently zoned industrial and variances would be required to make the idea sustainable.

Comments

  1. ACB says:

    Conceptually, this is a great idea. I only hope that if it goes ahead Solterra can bring a better build quality than Eaglewind. It would be a shame to have something that was in disrepair in a few short years. Build it right and build it green and we may have an asset for decades to come….just like Granville Island.

  2. Diane Sherlock says:

    Love these ideas. Thanks for being go ahead for Squamish, we need more of this to. make the downtown the place to go to.

  3. Brad says:

    I wish the proponents the best of luck on this. Definitely a cool idea. My only mild query about it.. as a business person the economics of it kind of raise an eyebrow. 8000sq ft = a lot of rent and taxes and other overhead for the anchor tenant that needs to be covered. I support this in principle as long as the District isn’t asked to come to the table with incentives or other direct or indirect financial support.

  4. Brad says:

    One other thing to bear in mind.. this is a commercial development seeking to happen on land set aside for industrial. A serious discussion about differing employment opportunities there by changing the zoning should be had.

  5. Dave says:

    Here it comes: “Its OK….But”…..Then the “Buts” get more definitive….Then the proposal dies.
    Come on people let things blossom without the negative “pre-pruning”! The details can be worked out by the proponents without our uninformed “help” and “raised eyebrows”.

  6. larry mclennan says:

    Yes Brad- I wish them well but there seems to be a rather large amorphous portion in the business plan. It seems to me I’ve heard the recreational facility proposals before- I remember some of the proposals brought forward for the Legion lands (phase 5 ,I believe , was to have a small railroad going around )- which never happened. However, that was some time ago and good luck to Solterra.

  7. Gord says:

    We don’t have enough population for something like this but best of luck.

  8. Trevor Mils says:

    This would be a really great opportunity to include a green alternative transportation link that people could use instead of their cars. The city of Vancouver is cancelling the heritage streetcar service from Science world to Granville Island. We could negotiate with CN to use the tracks to link up the whole valley and run the green streetcars to move people around.

  9. Brad says:

    Believe me I am the last person looking to make life difficult for business. We have to ask the right questions though. If this were zoned properlu already, it would be a slam dunk. But it isn’t, and in the past we’ve made a great show of adhering to the OCP. If memory serves we denied a rezoning to a proponeny who wanted to develop a smaller complex on the corner across from Tim’s which included a bank. We need to be consistent. If all it takes is danglinh an amenity in front us to cause us to go back on our commitments, we get government by whim and thay benefits no one. If rezoning is on the table, we need to look carefullu at what this project is really about, if giving up industrial land is worth it, and then we need to make sure the same opportunities are available to other proponents who don’t have something as exciting to offer.

  10. A. V. says:

    Super exciting! Its perfect to combine a new marketplace idea with attractions for the outdoor adventure enthusiasts as that is why the population of Squamish is growing so rapidly. People love living here for nature and sports and community. A great place for them to practice in the snowy/rainy months and to bring more culture to downtown Squamish. As a downtown business owner, I am thrilled by this and yes lets stay positive and help work out the kinks.

  11. Dave says:

    And Brad. What is wrong with a bit of subsidy/help from us/Council to ensure that this gets going? Heck, enough has been spent on the Downtown initiative/branding etc. anyway!

  12. A says:

    I think the recreation part is great, as long as it’s affordable to use by the average resident. The marketplace…I’m not sure that there’s enough “business” on a yearly basis to sustain such a project. Let’s see what the economic study determines.

  13. MichaelL65 says:

    This sounds very exciting. If it goes through, it could be one more thing that makes Squamish a stopping point, and give those stopping a reason to stay for a couple of days.

    • Ellery Zeller says:

      And please don’t forget ‘Cactus Club” and a small movie theater…..my god I’ve died and gone to heaven.

  14. Elliot says:

    Where does proper industry go? So many production/manufacturing businesses fail to set up in Squamish because industrial land is priced like psuedo-retail and there is no room left for big bay and yard space. This type of development (small bay with parking only and retail uses) should be kept downtown. Terrible terrible planning. We’re screwed

  15. Jane Klepp says:

    These proposals are great. Local residents definitely would benefit from having more options for indoor activities that are based in the community (sports-related and otherwise). Other cities have full-sized indoor rock climbing gyms where people of all ages can train in the cold and rainy seasons. It’s time for Squamish to have the same standard.

  16. Jaspera says:

    Hopefully the artist’s rendering is a misconception or misrepresentation of what is being touted. Otherwise the uglification of Squamish will be in full swing – ugly buildings, ugly roofs, ugly sprawling parking lots, non-existent minimal landscaping, etc. Consistency with OCP, economic costs vs. benefits, subsidies, regulatory inconsistencies have been dealt with above. While component parts may sound and be good, the overall lack of artistic vision and environmental sensitivity reigns supreme, and will ultimately just contribute to the on-going ugly built environment which typifies Squamish to date. Such a shame given the magnificent, beautiful surroundings that personify the natural Squamish!

  17. TJay says:

    I like vision…I abhor wet-rag naysayers

  18. Ellery Zeller says:

    Thank you.