Franz's Trail retailers to be announced soon 

If and when council approves the architectural plans for the second stage of the Franz’s Trail development at Creekside at their March 5 meeting, developers will start naming occupants for the 13 available retail spaces.

Although there have been a number of rumours, nothing has been decided says Drew Meredith, the director of commercial development for Franz’s Trail.

"I have my favourites, but it’s going to come down to a group decision based on the merits of each proposal," says Meredith.

The development group received over 100 applications for the limited number of spaces. Although plans for the spaces include a pub/bar, a family restaurant, a coffee shop, a financial institution and a grocery store, the right to run each of these services is still up for grabs.

"It’s been an ongoing thing, and we keep getting a bunch of new ideas, but I’d say we’re down to the short straws of making decisions."

The final decision will come down a panel of about five people who will look at the vision for the area as a locals hangout. According to research, about 20,000 cars go each way between Creekside and the village each day. Some 57 per cent of resort employees live south of Blueberry, and the majority of the remaining bed units belong to weekend warriors and house/condo owners.

"In terms of hotels, there’s not much there," says Meredith.

Since the primary focus is locals, "middle of the road" proposals will be chosen over high-end proposals.

A recent Globe and Mail article that hinted the grocery space would be occupied by a Capers (an upscale grocery chain from the Lower Mainland), for example, "is not in keeping with the concept or the demographics," says Meredith.

"We want to be busy year round and pick up the local traffic, and something like Capers wouldn’t fit the bill. Something middle of the road like a Nesters would be more appropriate."

To complement the eclectic architecture of Franz’s Trail, Meredith says that most of his favourite proposals are a little out of the ordinary.

"They’re a little different, a little funkier than what we’re used to in the village," he says. "It’s a project that’s going to make up for our sins of the past. We’d like to see a lot of ownership from people in the immediate area, to get the people living out this way to come here instead of making the trip to the village."

There’s more than enough parking – 1,530 spaces in a four-level parkade, 150 of which are dedicated to the Franz’s Trail shops.

Meredith expects to name all of the occupants by the end of March, and for businesses to start moving in by September.

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