A view of Salmon Arm from Mount Ida. (Mike Simpson photo)

Commercial space dwindles as B.C. city’s population increases

Realtor says Salmon Arm is a popular destination, but development is challenging

The city of Salmon Arm has hit a growth spurt in recent years, and while that growth is a great sign for the community it also creates challenges for those hoping to start a brick-and-mortar business in the community.

In 2017, Salmon Arm topped the list for growth in B.C. municipalities with a population of 5,000 or more, with 9.3 per cent population growth according to provincial statistics. Again in 2018 Salmon Arm was in the top five fastest growing cities with nearly three per cent growth overall.

Read More: Breaking new ground in providing housing

While these figures show Salmon Arm is an attractive destination, realtor Jim Grieve says slow development of additional commercial or industrial properties in the area has led to a slump in available space for new businesses.

“Typically I would do a search for commercial places for lease in the Shuswap, from Revelstoke to the North Shore, and you would have 100 places come up, but today there is 20; our inventory is at a low point,” he says, noting there is even less available space in the Salmon Arm industrial park.

One challenge he identifies is meeting the needs of a business owner or developer looking for a specific size or location.

“If you look at the spaces we have available, we don’t have one that is say five or six thousand square feet. So, where does someone who needs that kind of space set up? They would have to build new,” he says.

Read More: New taxiway plan for Salmon Arm airport taking off

While Salmon Arm has grown steadily for the past couple of years, Grieve points out the market is still not quite big enough to justify the costs of development for smaller businesses.

“On a new building the offset costs for development will be around $10 per square foot, so there you are going from $20 rent per square foot to $30, and unless you are a big player, small businesses can’t afford it,” he says.

While this may put prospective business owners in a tricky position, Grieve says these figures do indeed come with a silver lining.

“It’s not a bad thing for our community, in fact it’s a good thing for the community,” he says. “It shows that people really want to be here and that is great. If someone comes to town looking at developing, and they see that everything is full, they look at that and say alright this is great, now where do I have to build to get involved in this?”

Read More: Mobile home park denied after marathon hearing

He also notes that the commercial property market is often more fickle than the residential market, as the space and location needs of a business are usually more specific for buyers.

“Even though I am getting a lot of calls from people looking for commercial property, it’s different than the residential market.” he says. “I could halve the price of a commercial property, that doesn’t mean anyone is going to come along and buy it unless they have plans to put a building up there and the property works for their needs.”


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rockets lose to Blazers in nail-biting shootout

The Rockets came back to tie the game 2-2, but would ultimately lose in a nine-round shootout.

Okanagan brothers recognized with medals of bravery for saving four from drowning in 2013

The two brothers saved four from drowning after they were swept into the rough waters of Wood Lake.

Kelowna author releases 2nd book with stories of overcoming personal trauma

The launch for Diana Reyers’ Trauma to Recovery comes to Kelowna Sept. 21

Rockets make cuts to Memorial Cup roster

The Kelowna Rockets re-assigned three players to their respective farm-affiliates on Sunday.

Unsecure wheelbarrow causes motorcycle crash in West Kelowna

One person injured in a motorcycle crash in West Kelowna.

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: Penticton fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read