Civic Square FAQs

Who is the developer for the Civic Square project?

logo

Shift Real Estate Investments Ltd. was selected as the developer for the project following a competitive Request for Expression of Interest process. Their expertise and experience developing significant real estate projects throughout Southern Alberta will help to ensure the Civic Square project meets the functional, financial, and revitalization targets set out by the Town of Coaldale.

While Shift Investments itself only began 4 years ago, their parent company, the Davis Automotive Group, has been involved in real estate and business in Southern Alberta for over 40 years. Shift Investments is a new business, formed through the consolidation of various properties, taking advantage of the experience and expertise of their partners. 

Shift Investments has a long, proud history of investing in small to mid-sized towns.  Coaldale is one of the towns they have identified as a target investment community, recognizing that Coaldale’s drive for independence in services and community make it an attractive destination for investment. 

 

What is the cost breakdown for the Civic Square project? 

The total budget for the Town’s share/cost of office space and land in Phase 1 of the Civic Square project is $5,830,000. The Town’s revised budget of $5,830,000 is $2,800,000 less than the original Civic Square project budget of $8,630,000 that was first approved by Town Council on November 26, 2018 – when the 2019-2021 Capital Budget was officially adopted. Details about the Civic Square project were presented at the Council Meeting which was live-streamed publicly, followed by a series of information sessions that took place in Council Chambers between December 3 and December 14, 2018.

The original Civic Square project budget of $8,630,000 was based on the assumption that the Town would be the project developer. In effect, this would have meant the Town building the project in its entirety, including the creation and subsequent sales/marketing of the commercial spaces within it. Doing so, however, would have meant that the Town bore the financial risk (but also the potential reward) associated with a major commercial undertaking.

Ultimately, at the Regular Council Meeting of December 9, 2019 Council moved to endorse a public/private partnership business model for carrying out the Civic Square project.  At this meeting, the following motion was passed: 

THAT Council direct administration to sell the Civic Square building project opportunity to a third-party developer following the conclusion of a competitive Request for Expression of Interest process that is to be posted on the Alberta Purchasing Connection on or before January 6, 2020 up to and including February 3, 2020.

FURTHER, that Council confirm its commitment to negotiate with the successful proponent to lease or purchase up to 10,000 square feet of space for municipal purposes, in addition to the Town’s proportionate share of applicable common spaces, from the developer selected to undertake the Civic Square building project.

FURTHER, that the Town’s portion of the project be funded through a portion of the Civic Square project funds which were set aside and approved in the 2019-2021 Capital Budget, which was ratified by Council on November 26, 2018.

IN ADDITION, in the event that the Negotiated Agreement (pursuant to the Request for Expression of Interest Package) between the Town and the selected developer is approved by Council and executed, let it be further resolved that administration be directed to sell the Town-owned parcels of land that have been acquired to facilitate the Civic Square building project to the selected developer. For greater clarity, the parcels the Town will sell to the developer that is selected, are legally described as follows:

Lot 1, Block 12, Plan 6476AA;
Lot 2, Block 12, Plan 6476AA;
Lot 3, Block 12, Plan 6476AA;
Lot 4, Block 12, Plan 6476AA.

The main reasons Council chose to endorse the public/private partnership model for carrying out the Civic Square project (as opposed to serving as the developer themselves) is that:

  1. Private developers are better suited and skilled at developing real estate than government bodies, and
  2. The introduction of a private partner to the equation transfers the commercial / construction risk of the additional commercial spaces from the Town to a private entity. 

By only looking after the space that it will be buying and retaining (Town office space, Council Chambers, community meeting rooms and, main level atrium and outdoor parking area), the Town was able to reduce its project cost overhead from $8,630,000 to $5,830,000. 

Additional project details can be made available once certain terms and checkpoints are reached.

 

What funding sources is the Town using to pay for this project?

The Town is paying “cash” for the $5,830,000 Civic Square project using revenue from the following sources:

  • Sale of the existing Town Office building – $700,000 (appraised value)
  • Provincial grant dollars from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI Capital stream) – $3,130,000
  • Town office replace reserve - $2,000,000 (accumulated over last 15 years)
  • TOTAL: $5,830,000

*Depending on the ultimate scope that gets decided for Phase 3 of the project, this total budgetary figure could be subject to change.

 

Will this project raise taxes?

The Civic Square project is fully funded and will not require tax increases to support it. 

The Town expects the project will result in an additional $40,000 to $50,000 / year of non-residential municipal tax revenue once Phase 1 and 2 of the project are complete. This ongoing revenue projection includes the non-municipally owned project elements of Phase 1, the anticipated commercial space in Phase Two, and the municipal tax revenue that will be created once the Town’s existing Town Office building is sold and repurposed for commercial redevelopment. 

The ultimate goal is for the Civic Square project to stimulate additional growth and investment in Coaldale – to facilitate the success of existing commerce – so that the downtown core may serve as a vibrant economic engine for many years to come.

 

Why did Council decide to approve the Civic Square Project?

Town Council approved this project as part of the 2019-2021 Capital Budget (pages 46-48), which was adopted at the Regular Council Meeting of November 26, 2018. Civic Square is an opportunity that, once completed, will create lasting economic momentum for Coaldale’s downtown core. It will:

  • Bring additional traffic to Coaldale’s downtown;

  • Locate new jobs to Coaldale;

  • Provide more than 16,000 square feet of additional commercial/retail space to Coaldale’s Downtown core, including the commercial space in Phase 1 and 2, as well as repurposing existing space in the current Town Office (5900 square feet) building for commercial purposes;

  • Create a “Community Living Room” – which will attract people to Coaldale’s downtown core;

  • Be achievable without use of tax support (i.e. zero impact on the Town’s operating budget);

  • Create property tax revenue for the community;

  • Increase the community’s ability to meet and host events.

The Civic Square project also brings to fruition several of the focus areas of Council’s Strategic Plan, which was adopted in 2018 following a community-wide survey and open houses, including:

  • Investment readiness and preparedness; 

  • Making strategic investments that will pay long term divides for the community; 

  • Emphasis on promoting, facilitating, and spearheading developer in in-fill areas;

  • Business attraction and retention;

  • Undertake initiatives that set-up the private sector for long term success;

 

How was the land for the project site acquired?

The land for the site project has been strategically acquired by the Town from a number of different property owners over several years. Taking this approach has allowed for the parcels of land to be consolidated into a single developable piece, making it substantially more attractive for private sector investment. This model is useful for allowing for large scale redevelopment of areas where individual lot ownership is fragmented, making it difficult for a private sector developer to acquire the necessary land mass to make a more substantial commercial investment feasible.

A key parcel of land was generously donated by the Yip family, former longstanding residents of Coaldale, to facilitate the creation of an open-air connection between Coaldale’s Main Street and the outdoor gathering space next to the library - an outdoor greenspace that will pay tribute to the legacy of their late parents.

How did the Town pay for the land?

Phase 1:

The Phase 1 lands, where the multi-use commercial office building will be constructed, were purchased by the Town for $1,220,000. The lands located within Phase 1 of the project will be resold back to the developer and the net land cost will be divided proportionately between the Town and the developer on a proportionate basis (roughly 80% Town, 20% developer). 

The final proportion of land that is purchased, owned and retained by each party will be finalized during the detailed design process, which is scheduled to be completed in March, 2021.

Phase 2: 

Land located within Phase 2 of the project was purchased by the Town for $283,600 in 2019. This will be resold to the developer and combined with other parcels for commercial redevelopment in the future once Phase 1 of the project is complete.

Phase 3:

Stemming back to 2016, the land located within the outdoor portion of the project – Phase 3 – was acquired by the Town for a total cost of $972,000. The AHS land immediately next to the library was purchased by the Town in 2016 for $140,000 and funded through the Town’s land reserve. The three houses along the western boundary of the Phase 3 lands (along 19 th Street) were purchased by the Town in early 2019 collectively for $652,000 and were initially funded through the Town’s Civic Square project. 

What exactly goes into this space will be determined through future community and stakeholder engagement activities. Dating back to 2016, the total estimated net cost of land to the Town for the Civic Square Project – once the land for all three project phases are considered – is $1,972,000. No additional land expenses are required to facilitate any existing or future phase of the project.

What's happening to the existing businesses on this land?

Westland Insurance is temporarily being relocated to the empty lot at the entrance to main street which was previously occupied by 7-Eleven. Once construction of the Civic Square project is complete, Westland Insurance intends to relocate into one of the commercial spaces on the first floor of the new civic building; their temporary location, a Ready to Move (RTM) office that is currently being constructed at the former 7-Eleven site, will be re-sold and hauled away once Westland moves into their new permanent location within Civic Square building (as part of Phase 1). 

The 7-Eleven lot was purchased by the Town in 2020 and will ultimately be redeveloped to allow for:

  • Potential current and future intersectional upgrades,
  • enhanced pedestrian connectivity, 
  • new public entry feature into the revitalized downtown, and 
  • potential installation of digital signage.  

Public engagement on the long-term design of the former 7-Eleven space is expected to take place in 2021.

The owners of Dilo's Pizza have announced their retirement and will not require space to relocate in Coaldale.

 

Where can I find more information?

The Town has been budgeting for a new Town office for several years, contributing to a reserve fund dedicated towards the eventual construction of a new space. Town Council and Administration have been publicly discussing the Civic Square project specifically since budget deliberations which were streamed live on the Town’s YouTube page on November 26, 2018. Subsequently,

  • A detailed written description of the projects contained within the Town’s 2019-2021 Capital Budget was published on the Town’s website the next day and has remained there ever since. Copies of this document have been on display at the Town Office and made available to anyone that requested them.
  • From December 3, 2018 to December 14, 2018 poster boards were displayed in Council Chambers at the Town Office, along with numerous social media updates, inviting anyone that was interested to stop by and learn more about the projects. Two evening sessions between December 3 and December 12, 2018 were held to accommodate those who may have been unable to view the capital project information boards during daytime hours.

  • On January 25, 2019 the Town posted on the Alberta Purchasing Connection a Request for Proposal for Preliminary / Schematic Architectural Design Services for the Town of Coaldale’s Downtown Civic Square Project. This RFP contained great detail about the Civic Square project.

  • On June 12, 2019 Town administration, at the direction of Council, delivered a presentation about the Town’s Civic Square project to the Coaldale and District Chamber of Commerce. Several local business representatives were in attendance, including, as has been customary for several years, members of the local media. 

  • At the Regular Council meeting of December 9, 2019 Council made the decision to “shop” the Civic Square commercial building opportunity to potential third-party developers following the conclusion of a competitive Request for Expression of Interest process. In fulfillment with this directive, the Request for Expression of Interest document for the Town’s Civic Square Project was posted on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) from December 18, 2019 to February 6, 2020.
     

 

This page will be updated as more information becomes available. If you have any additional questions, please contact communications@coaldale.ca.