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Kmart Development

Aug 27 1999

By Doug Gallant
The Guardian

Work has begun on a $10-million redevelopment project on the site of the former Kmart store on University Avenue in Charlottetown.

Developer Tim Banks, president of the APM Group, said Thursday the project will be carried out in phases, with the last phase of the development scheduled for completion by September of next year.

The APM Group obtained a building permit for the first phase of the project Tuesday from City Hall. "We're very excited about this development," Banks said. "We hope to see the first official openings take place in June."

Banks said they will be tendering the various phases of the project as things evolve. In this first phase, a good portion of the existing building, home first to Kmart and later to Zellers, will be demolished. "We'll be constructing what is essentially a new building to accommodate new retail players."

When complete, the project will house three to four major new retail outlets. Banks has declined to identify who those new retail players will be, saying it's not his place to make those announcements, but the retailers themselves. Reagh Ellis, franchise owner for Mark's Work Wearhouse on P.E.I., confirmed last week that he has a verbal agreement to move the current franchise store adjacent to the Charlottetown Mall into the former Kmart property.

Ellis expects to finalize the agreement within the next two weeks and hopes to move into his new space by June. "We have the premiere location on Prince Edward Island and with this new redevelopment we have been able to sign premiere retail," said Banks.

Banks says the level of quality of the construction will be very pleasing to the public. He says APM is investing a considerable amount of money on this property and on landscaping. And none of that money, he stressed, is public money. "This is strictly a private investment. No provincial funding, no municipal funding. And because it's private investment, we can respond a lot quicker to things which may arise. We're not out there waiting for funding issues to be resolved."

Banks said the province's decision to repeal the major retail development legislation adopted a number of years ago is good news. "We're seeing that in the marketplace. Development here had been pent up. I find it a lot easier for me as a developer to talk to major retailers about major projects. "This is good for the city because it keeps money here and creates employment, and good for the consumer because it provides them with more choice."

Banks says anyone who thinks this is not a good thing for Charlottetown is wrong. "This project will create jobs during construction and after construction. "It will mean employing local contractors and buying construction materials from local suppliers. It will mean an enhanced tax base for the city."

If Banks has any regrets about the projects it's only that he wishes he was doing something downtown. "I wish this was closer to the downtown core, but until they fix up University Avenue and make it wider, development downtown will be slower to come. They're going to have to do that sooner than later."

Banks noted that the level of co-operation he was receiving on his new project at the former Kmart property has been very good.


Media Contact: MediaReleases@apm.ca