It’s been a banner year for Downtown Prince George with major construction projects in full swing and signage developments for small businesses.
Mayor Lyn Hall hopes that trend will continue in the new year. “We’ve talked a lot about the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown and I think we’re really starting to see that come to fruition,” he said.
Up until November of 2016, Hall says 125 million dollars from a building permits perspective have been invested into all of Prince George. That money includes millions put forth right into the downtown core.
From the announcement of the construction of the 35 million dollar Marriot Hotel, to a 14 million dollar District Energy Hot Water System, the Mayor is excited about the future. “125 million dollars is going to be a tough benchmark to meet again in 2017, but we’ve got some announcements to put out in early 2017, so I’m feeling pretty confident about the year.”
One of those announcements is a continuation of facade improvements to small businesses. Executive Director for Downtown Prince George, Colleen Van Mook is calling this year’s work a major success. “This year we have actually funded 17 projects and those projects are a total value of almost 800 thousand dollars that people are investing into their facade.”
Downtown PG has been able to provide over 100 thousand dollars in grants for facade improvements through the Northern Development Initiative Trust. A number of new businesses like the Crossroads Brewery are also starting to pop up says Van Mook. “We are really excited about some of the new businesses that have decided to relocate or re-open downtown, since January, about 17 new businesses.”
However, a new look for the hub of the City means plenty of work still needs to be done according to Hall. “We’re working on getting rid of dilapidated buildings and eye sores in the downtown when it comes to vacant property and when we see this sort of investment it encourages us that there is some confidence in the downtown.”
For now, Van Mook hopes the confidence of businesses will stay strong in the downtown core. “One of the things that we want to do is continue to help our businesses get their profile, we’re working on some marketing, we’re collaborating with the City to reach out to new businesses and new development.”