After more than three years of construction, Intrawest is at last ready to complete the final phase of the Franzs Trail commercial development in Creekside.
In recent weeks the area along Lake Placid Road has been landscaped and a public washroom has been built.
The new playground, designed by local artisan Eric Scragg will open to the public this weekend. Scragg also built the playgrounds at Alpha Lake Park and in the North Village opposite Blenz.
Two new tenants have also signed on, Nick-n-Willys Take-n-Bake Pizza and Joey Chans Restaurant. Dream Merchants of Whistler is also moving to Franzs Trail.
The contract has also been finalized with the B.C. Liquor Store, which will be located under the Creekside Market. That leaves just two commercial spaces for rent. All of these new businesses are planning to be open for Christmas.
The main construction project, the gateway restaurant, is also on track with Intrawest finally signing a tenant this summer. The Black Forest Steak and Schnitzel House is expected to be open for business by New Years, with the building front and entranceway to Franzs Trail to be finished before Christmas.
More landscaping is also in the works along the highway side of the development, and Intrawest hopes to have most of it finished by the opening of the ski season. Other work, including the installation of a new rock fountain, will have to wait until spring.
The work cant be completed until Whistler Creek is re-routed, and that wont happen until after the cleanup of a gas plume in the ground adjacent to the Petro Canada site is complete.
"We dont know how long it will be with the Petro Canada cleanup, it could be a year it could be longer. Were working around that limitation the best we can for now," explained Liz Ayre of Intrawest Placemaking the new name for Intrawests Resort Development Group.
In the meantime, Intrawest will clean up the site as much as possible and put up murals on the latticework that adorns the side of the parkade "to make it look better," said Ayre.
Ayre acknowledged that the tenants have been disappointed by the constant construction, but says that Intrawest had no control over the Petro Canada cleanup. In addition, they didnt start construction on the Gateway Restaurant building and the main entranceway to Franzs Trail until they signed a tenant for the space, to ensure that it could be designed to meet the tenants needs.
"Its really important for us to get the restaurant built and the liquor store open because these are anchor tenants for (Franzs Trail), and once theyre open we hope it will create a lot more traffic," said Ayre.
Although there are a few prospective tenants interested in the two remaining spaces, Ayre says those spaces will be easier to fill once the construction and landscaping are finished.
Intrawest and Kidz Corner at 49 th Parallel are hosting a contest for children to name the new playground structure at Franzs Trail. Theres a box in the Kidz Corner to submit your ideas, and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for the store.