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Home Hardware owner on new building traffic, apartment

Home Hardware manager Theo Bandstra on potential apartment and traffic at new Smithers building.
Design of the planned new Home Hardware building on Third Avenue in Smithers. Bulkley Valley Engineering Services illustration

Home Hardware is building a new 12,500-square-foot building at Third Avenue and King Street, and manager Theo Bandstra said someone’s going to live there if the Town’s proposed Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption that would give this building a five-year municipal tax exemption of 75 per cent works out.

Bandstra said it all depends if he is eligible and what the parameters are if and when the new tax exemption is passed.

“It will be a bit more upscale,” said Bandstra of the concept for the apartment, estimated now to be about 450 square feet..

“If you think of the Downtown Revitalization Project, they’re trying to create a bit of a vibe,” he added.

New builds with two residential suites or renovations in the downtown core where at least 50 per cent of the reno goes to residential use would qualify for a 100 per cent exemption for five years. Downtown is defined by the Town as Highway 16 to Railway Avenue, from Queen Street to King Street.

Smithers council approved the permit application for the new Home Hardware building at its Feb. 13 general meeting. The residential suite would be on the second floor.

The new store area of 10,500 square feet would be more than double the current store space, which has been a hardware store for over 40 years. Theo and Alyssa Bandstra have owned and managed the store since September 2013.

Groundbreaking is expected in May, with current and newly hired employees moving in by January or February of next year.

Parking will be accessed from Third Avenue across from the post office and via a back lane. Delivery and service trucks would access the back lane from King Street across from Muheim Memorial Elementary School.

Bandstra said staying downtown was important to him, and the opportunity came up when the land became for sale in late 2016. Traffic should not be an issue, he said.

“That’s part of revitalizing your downtown. More density means more people, and … I think that’s what the Town’s looking for,” he said, adding that there will be two empty lots between the building and King Street.

New rules do not require parking be provided downtown, but Home Hardware plans on having 21 paved parking stalls, including two accessible stalls. There will also be indented street parking like that in front of Heartstrings.

Alpine theme efforts are being made with traditional wood and rock elements. A 750-sq.-ft three season greenhouse building is part of the design, as are murals for the walls without windows. There will also be a 500-sq.-ft. storage compound.

Red brick sidewalk would run along its front on Third Avenue to King Street.

Staff also took it upon themselves to get involved, according to Bandstra. A wishlist was put up by them that included a 42-inch flat screen TV for the staff room — for training purposes, of course.

“The Lord has blessed us with this opportunity and we are thrilled. We look forward to the staff having a better work environment and giving customers a larger assortment and more enjoyable place to get what they need,” said Bandstra.

He also warned the charming checkered floor would not be moving with them.

The new Smithers Home Hardware would be by the intersection of King Street and Third Avenue, across the street from the post office on one side, Muheim Memorial Elementary on another, and next door to Heartstrings. Chris Gareau photo