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Whistler's Creekside Village heading for a makeover

B.C. consulting group hired to help plan future of the shopping area



The Creekside Village is getting a makeover.

"The opportunity arose to make significant and positive changes to Creekside Village," said Ryan Bell, the director of asset management for CNL Lifestyle Properties, which owns the village.

"A number of leases expired and we made the conscious decision to replace those uses to better compliment our existing tenants such as Creekside Market, BC Liquor, Scotiabank and Starbucks."

CNL has engaged British Columbia-based Greenstead Consulting Group to help develop a repositioning and remerchandising plan for the property.

According to Greenstead founder Peter Morris, Creekside Village is ideally suited to provide a different experience to the common brand name retailers found elsewhere in Whistler. He said that Creekside Village will be seeking tenants that are unique and/or offer something quintessentially Canadian, resulting in making Creekside Village a "must visit" location.

"The better quality hotel accommodations adjacent the property cater to an affluent, luxury family clientele who appreciate the opportunity to uncover something new and different as compared to the mass chain stores," said Morris.

The preferred tenant mix includes a signature restaurant, a salon/spa, unique art and gift gallery, quick service food outlets with either a healthy food option or a menu of wide appeal, resort or adventure wear shop and a lounge, craft brew pub, wine bar or speak-easy atmosphere location to cater to those wanting somewhere to go in the evening.

According to a recently produced Whistler Chamber of Commerce Commercial Lease Report, which provided a snapshot of current rates and operating costs, rents in the Creekside Village area are less than in the Village Square, where they can be as high as $125 per square foot according to the report.

Morris believes this is one reason CNL Lifestyle Properties will be able to find the right tenants.

"Even with the high rents demanded in Village Square, tenants still have to advertise to attract customers and these combined costs compound your risks of doing business in Whistler," he said.

"Alternatively, if you locate your 'must visit' concept in a property with less rent, you can still spend on advertising to attract customers and your overall costs of doing business are reduced."

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