By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 21, 201.
Developer Michael Hutchison wants the district to rezone a commercial office building in the Amblepath subdivision to residential again.
“It’s simply not a good fit for commercial,” Michael Hutchison said at a public consultation meeting at the Howe Sound pub on Thursday.
“I offered it to a day care, to a school, to a church, but it just didn’t work out.”
It now hosts the office of Hutchison’s company, Bethel Lands Corporation, which will move to his new 30,000 square foot building on Cleveland Ave. in downtown Squamish.
If Hutchsion’s application before the district is successful, this would be the third time that office space is rezoned, from residential to commercial, and back to residential again.
It will be renovated to make space for a two one-bedroom loft style units that will be rented out.
It would be an ideal place for grandparents and nannies to live.
“That is the kind of space we lack there,” he said.
Hutchison said a coffee shop, Behind the Grind, closed down after nine months at the location.
“Coffee shops need to be centrally located and this was not even visible from Government Road,” Hutchison explained the reason for its failure.
He said when the building was first rezoned commercial from residential, former councillor Corinne Lonsdale had warned it might not be the best place for a commercial establishment.
“She was right about it,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison said he even dropped the rent on the office space to $10 per square foot, but there were no takers.
If council doesn’t accept the rezoning proposal, he will keep dropping the rent further, ‘until some reporter can afford it’, he joked.
Terrill Patterson wondered if Hutchison meant to offer any amenity for the rezoning.
“None. My amenity is the building downtown,” Hutchison answered.
He also said it would be cheaper for him to let the office ‘sit empty’ than do the renovations to convert it into housing.
The downtown office he has built has already been booked, and will open in March. His own office would be at the top floor.
“It’s clear, downtown is where people want to have an office space,” he said.
He said he plans to build another building downtown, but didn’t divulge any details.