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Delta seeks proposals for Seven Seas building

The municipality has issued an expression of interest for creative proposals for the Seven Seas building and the adjacent vacant site that formerly contained the Brackman-Ker warehouse.

The municipality has issued an expression of interest for creative proposals for the Seven Seas building and the adjacent vacant site that formerly contained the Brackman-Ker warehouse.

Following the expression of interest, a request for proposals will be issued to short-listed proponents by early October.

An evaluation and final recommendation to council will be made in November.

Council this year agreed to seek a private partner to redevelop the municipally-owned sites on the Ladner waterfront, a key part of a redevelopment strategy for the area.

A long-term lease, potentially up to 60 years or more, could be given to bring a mix of new businesses, acting as a catalyst for redevelopment of the downtown core.

Formed in 2009, the Downtown Ladner Waterfront Redevelopment Advisory Committee has been meeting with property owners and the public to discuss the future of the area.

A consultant's report recommended encouraging unique destination restaurants and retailers, as well as more businesses from the food and beverage industry, but it's not clear yet what will come.

The Ladner business scene continues to undergo changes on its own, meanwhile.

To be completed soon, a new building is being constructed at the former Johnny's Store location at the corner of Elliott Street and Arthur Drive. The two-storey building will feature retail on the lower level and office space on the second floor. The Lowe family has owned the site at the entrance to Ladner Village for more than 40 years. Richard Lowe said tenants have been lined up, but he couldn't say who's moving in until arrangements have been finalized.

Across the street the KFC restaurant a few weeks ago abruptly closed. Property owner, Ron Toigo told the Optimist the restaurant decided to close while still having several years left on its lease. The municipality recently announced it would buy the site in order to build a new right-hand turn lane for Arthur Driver, so northbound traffic can turn more easily onto Ladner Trunk Road. The KFC building is to be torn down to create an expansion for Magee Park.

Meanwhile, a tenant has finally been found for the former Village Inn pub on Delta Street, a couple of years after the building was completely renovated. A new bar was supposed to be on the ground floor, but since a buyer couldn't be found, a Telus store will move there instead. The ground floor will be divided to house other businesses as well.

A Fat Burger restaurant recently opened at the Trenant Park Square shopping centre, where an expansion at London Drugs recently finished. Fields and the walk-in clinic at the mall closed.

Meantime, the former Royal LePage office on Ladner Trunk Road is undergoing an extensive makeover to become home to a new Scotiabank branch.

Toigo, who owns the property, noted he had looked at opening a White Spot outlet at the location but the city wasn't supportive of having a drive-thru there.

Another bank, though, will be a great addition for Ladner, he said.

Further down Ladner Trunk Road, next to the 7Eleven and Esso, construction is planned for a new heritage-themed multitenant commercial building, over 7,300-square-feet in size, called Ladner Gate. Noting it's a high profile location, realtor Michael Anderson said pre-leasing will begin this summer, with construction to be completed in the spring/ summer 2012.

This year also saw some local businesses close while new ones opened. Ladner Sushi is one of them, reopening this spring after the 48th Avenue restaurant was forced to close due to a fire the year prior. The blaze also gutted several other business and residential units above. A couple of those other businesses relocated elsewhere in the village.

Ladner, though, will likely undergo an even more radical transformation in the next few years, depending on what redevelopment schemes will by allowed in the revitalization strategy.

In an interview following a public meeting this year, Coun. Scott Hamilton, who chairs the committee, said they will bring all the ideas back to the property owners to see if there's enough incentive for them to redevelop.

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