Company looks to develop land in middle of city

Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  The Colemans Group of Companies is back to focusing on developing a sizable piece of land in the University Drive, O’Connell Drive and Elizabeth Street area.

The area of land the Colemans Group of Companies intends on developing.

The company has nine hectares of land in that busy area of the city, and Eugene Coleman says they have been planning to develop it since 1997.

Coleman spoke in mid-March  about the plan for the construction of an apartment building and retail shop or shops in the portion of land facing O’Connell Drive, while single or double dwelling units would be erected on land bordering the Elizabeth Street area.

While addressing the public hearing of the city's Integrated Municipal Sustainability Plan and 2012 development regulations, the city businessman discussed the project with Gerard Martin, the commissioner, in hopes of influencing zone changes to allow the development to take place sometime in the future. Proposed zone changes to this area would not allow for the construction of houses, while retail shops would be a discretionary use under the new proposed innovation district zone. An apartment complex would be permitted.

Last week, Coleman said it was important to make the city and its consultant, Stantec, aware of their plans.

“The city, their consultants, blanketed the area with innovation district zone,” he said. “The consultants probably didn’t realize it was privately owned and we have been planning development for some time.”

The Colemans Group was approved in principal to erect row houses in that area in 2004, according to Coleman. It would have had to include a wellness centre at the time.

But the project was put on hold when the company began construction of the new grocery store at the former Humber Gardens.

After that was completed, Coleman said they purchased the 1.6 hectares of property bordering Elizabeth Street, bring the total land to the nine hectares they currently have, so they could develop something more substantial. That area is targetted for the development of a number of duplexes.

“Right now, we are kind of back to the drawing board on the proposal,” Coleman said. “We are trying to determine a way to service the front of O’Connell with either some small retail shops or shop and some apartment complexes, which we feel there is a big need for in town.”

Coleman also recognized the retail shop would not likely be approved if it was a “big box store” type of business. He said it would likely be a smaller shop or shops, and something the Colemans Group would look to lease or rent.

“We are willing to develop that land, but we have to come to some kind of arrangement as to what will work for both of us,” he said, referring to the zoning of the land.

The company is looking to break ground on the project in the fall, depending on whether they can resolve the zoning issues.

Twitter: WS_CoryHurley

Organizations: Colemans Group

Geographic location: Elizabeth Street

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Recent comments

  • Lyndon West
    May 31, 2013 - 08:37

    I have a question for the business man. SO, what`s your REAL name.

  • Rod Lyver
    May 22, 2013 - 07:35

    "A BUSINESS MAN", If you feel so strongly about your convictions than sign your name. Good luck Gene.

  • DKB
    May 18, 2013 - 10:57

    The Coleman Group seem to know what they are doing and are the elite local player left in the Retail market truly in NL and really indeed Atlantic Canada. I respect and admire there actions and realize they are risk takers but not before they have a solid plan first lets help them help us. They have over 800 employees many whom are pros at their jobs no doubt part of the success.

  • George Alteen
    May 04, 2013 - 07:40

    Its seems that business man know everything about price and nothing of value.It seems that highly competitive price wars that the big boxes are involved in were a direct cause of the garment factory disaster in Bangladesh last week.Lower prices mean less margin and less money to improve factories in these countries.Think about that the next time you wear your cheap Asian imported garment.We are all responsible in some way for this disaster.

  • John
    May 03, 2013 - 00:08

    I was very pleased to read this news and wish to support the Coleman group in getting the re-zoning they are looking for. I have been eyeing that area ever since I lived on lower Elizabeth Street one year and was totally dismayed last year when the City posted their recommended re-zoning to 'innovative district'. I have always thought it would be a great area for mixed residential. I hope a decision is made very soon to grant the Coleman company what they are asking and I look forward to their quickly developing the property. We need something positive happening in Corner Brook relating to housing...and smack dab in the middle would be very uplifting.

  • Derek
    May 02, 2013 - 12:19

    I'd like to throw my support behind the Coleman group in their efforts to develop that prime piece of real estate off O'Connell and Elizabeth streets. The city needs local developers who not only make the city their home but are more than willing to invest capital and resources to help the city grow. Are there self interests as well? Sure. Who doesn't want to profit? But at least they are not another large conglomerate who pitch down with a giant box to vacuum up the few dollars there are around and carry them off to some foreign place. These are our neighbours and those who work for them are our neighbours as well and all of them contribute largely to the tax base of this city. I trust our city decision makers are those who take down barriers rather than those who put them up. Good focus and great pursuits, Coleman Group; we desire you keep on "target".

  • Gene Coleman
    April 30, 2013 - 16:45

    So far discussions with city officials & Council have been very positive. This will be a great development to help address current housing needs and potential retail and restaurant opportunities. Once the zoning is finalized we can proceed with more detailed engineering work regarding access.

  • david
    April 30, 2013 - 12:22

    "....The city, their consultants, blanketed the area with innovation district zone,” he said. “The consultants probably didn’t realize it was privately owned..." Yup. I wouldn't put it past this City Hall to be this uninformed and disorganized, and to have wasted taxpayer money to pay a consultant to do completely worthless zoning and planning work ---- work that might quite likely need to be 'undone' at even more cost. Sure.

  • peter barry
    April 30, 2013 - 12:08

    i dont see what is wrong with a big box store or any other type of store going there if a company wants to open there.

    • a business man
      May 01, 2013 - 09:01

      Neither do I. I prefer big box store because of price matching policies, sale prices, and hassle free returns. Online shopping is a big plus too. I never shop and mom and pop stores because I want them to fail. they offer little value, and the so called expertise that they provide is available on google. Big box is better for customers, so I do what I can support them. In a few years, most shopping will be done online. Then customers can get even cheaper prices because there will be no need to pay the same amount of workers. I support big box store crushing mom and pop stores, and I support online shopping eliminating the need for workers.

    • Llewellyn
      May 02, 2013 - 08:35

      That's right Business Man! I love helping a Wal-Mart exec buy his 3rd bugatti instead of helping a local couple put their kid through school. Once we strangle all of those mom n pops & have a vacant and boarded-up downtown, then we'll truly be moving forward! Wal-Mart execs raking in the cash, while the rest of us can only afford their wares!

    • a business man
      May 15, 2013 - 23:32

      LLEWELLYN: the Walmart Executive means nothing to me, and neither does the local couple trying to put their kid through school. My decisions are based on me and my best interests. I will shop at the store that offers me the best product at the cheapest price. I don't care who gets the money, or who does not. I just want to get the product I want while saving as much as possible for my family. Like I said, the walmart executive and the local couple are both irrelevant to me. All that said, please do consider that it is possible for some people to benefit from the strangling of the mom&pop store. Mom and pop stores going out of business creates investment opportunities and real estate transactions. You give your money to mom and pop. I will give it to my family.

  • Ted
    April 30, 2013 - 07:19

    Good luck getting cooperation from this city. All we seem to hear is how they drive new business away. Hopefully the Coleman's will have better luck!!