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Rainbow’s commercial space changes hands, open house planned

Gas station, grocery store, bank and restaurant all on the table

There's a new owner at the Rainbow subdivision with plans to develop the commercial space and gas station as soon as possible.

Sam Brovender, a physiotherapist by trade, bought the two lots at the entrance to the development from the Rainbow owners.

"This is definitely a step out for me," he said of his first foray into the development business.

"I live here in Whistler and the opportunity was presented to me.

"Honestly, intuitively, living here I just saw that it makes sense."

He wants to have a community discussion about the potential for the area at an upcoming open house on Wednesday, May 19.

Lot 9 is zoned for more than 20,000 square feet of commercial space and 46,000 square feet of residential space. Lot 1 is zoned for a service station.

The commercial space could include: a grocery store, pharmacy, bank, coffee shop, restaurant/pub, yoga studio and a post office.

Brovender could not confirm the names of any potential tenants.

"We're talking to people but we're obviously not allowed to say until we have the leases in place," he said.

Brovender has partnered with a Calgary-based development company called Ronmor that has been operating for more than 30 years.

While he hopes to move ahead with the project as soon as possible several things need to fall into place, including building permits and design panel review, before that can happen.

Architect Tim Ankenman cautioned that the ideas for the site are in the preliminary stages and the open house is to let the community understand the opportunities and constraints on the site, in particular the grading challenges.

It is also designed to get as much feedback from the community as possible to determine what their goals and aspirations are for the site before the detailed design work gets started. The open house, said Ankenman, should be considered more as a "community workshop."

In the meantime, however, Brovender said plans are underway to move the dirt pile at the entrance to Rainbow.

"They'll start to see that dirt pile reduced very quickly," he said.

"I'm just learning but I think that if we could go by the fall, we'd by lucky."

The public open house will be held on Wednesday, May 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Grand Foyer at the Whistler Conference Centre.