Local building boom continues; two more projects set to begin soon

If anyone had any doubts about the building boom in Rimbey, all they need to do is take a drive down the community’s main street for proof as two more construction projects are set to begin.

  • Jul. 15, 2008 7:00 a.m.

Review staff

If anyone had any doubts about the building boom in Rimbey, all they need to do is take a drive down the community’s main street for proof as two more construction projects are set to begin.

Local land owner/developer Al Ingles announced last week that he has sold one of his two-lot property packages on 50th Avenue directly west of the Rimbey Review and expects construction of a building on that site to begin within the next two weeks.

In addition, a new Best Western hotel to be located across the highway from the new Rimbey Hospital – which is expected to open in early August, also expects to see construction begin within the next two weeks.

On top of those developments, the community has also witnessed the completion of a major expansion to the Home Hardware outlet, a new two-bay building owned by developer Dwayne Adams just west of the Home Hardware is well under construction, the expansion of the Kansas Ridge seniors complex is well underway and a number of other commercial and residential projects are also seeing progress.

“I sold one of the two lots just west of your office and there’s going to be a local business moving in there in a new building,” Ingles said. “That should be starting fairly soon – I’m not building it myself, another contractor will be doing that, however I am considering maybe tying in the second lot and doing that at the same time. Whether I do it for sure, I’m not positive.”

Ingles, who operate Birch Meadows Holdings, said it makes economic sense to partner with the new owners of his first lot to jointly construct a larger building and try to lease or sell the other, developed side, than to wait until the property is sold and begin construction all over again.

“My goal this year is to see that hole filled up,” he said of the lot that has sat vacant for quite some time. “That hole has been there for years and I took it upon myself to see it filled up, so that’s my goal for this year.”

Ingles added that another of his lots – this one directly behind the Rimbey Review, has also garnered some serious inquiries and while he said he has an agreement in principle, there is nothing on paper. However, he is confident the property will be sold and developed soon.

Rimbey Mayor Dale Barr agrees, but was quick to add that the building boom has been a long road to its fruition.

“The proof is everywhere. We’re always cautious because business has many evaluations they do when they decide to build residential or commercial in the community,” he said. “Every community in Alberta looks for a mix between residential and commercial and this is a good reward for the town whereby in the last five years of working with policy and incentives to bring new businesses and space to the community, we can continue our growth.”

Barr said that while seeing smaller developers such as Ingles and Adams get their projects up and running shows great confidence in the community, it’s even better when the corporate world begins to take notice.

“It’s all about attitude and we pride ourselves in working with developers. It’s getting harder and harder for developers to work within guidelines that are set out by the province, sub-division approval agencies and transportation and those types of regulatory bodies. We do our best to minimize those impacts. We work with new developers that probably in other communities, would have some trouble getting their projects moving forward, and we’re very proud of how we work with investors in the community, and the success is now on the streets.”

Barr said whether it be new residential sub-divisions, commercial, industrial or highway commercial, the Town has made it as easy as possible to get the projects up and running while giving them a sense of security that they’ve made the right decision.

“It’s all an ongoing process and unfortunately in the development business, some of them can happen very quickly and can get approval within two or three months depending on what they’re doing, and some of them are almost two years by the time we go through all the engineering and processes. So we’re still working with a few developers to bring on some new properties, but the positive thing is we want to stay ahead enough in the marketplace that we’ve got properties in development moving ahead and it looks like we’ve finally broken that window where it’s not playing catch-up. We’re ahead of the game.”

As for Ingles, it isn’t nearly as much about the big-money developments as it is in seeing his hometown continue to grow and expand.

“I like Rimbey and I earned my living here. I’m mostly retired now, but I still work a bit, as you can see, but I’m at retirement age,” he said. “I’m a real Rimbey booster, I like Rimbey and I like to see it grow – and it is growing, and I’m happy about that.”