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Retail Opportunities Abound in Ambitious Clairmont Heights Development

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A groundbreaking multi-billion-dollar development project in the County of Grande Prairie, Alberta, will see the construction of a new community with an estimated 22,000 new residents. The ambitious new Clairmont Heights project is the only one of its kind in North America, and there are ample retail opportunities available for both small and large retailers. 

The County of Grande Prairie laid the foundations for Clairmont Heights several years ago, and the project is now nearing the end of the planning phase. Clairmont Heights will consist of a 1,200-acre community that will cost an estimated $2.3 to $2.4 billion to build. At its heart will be a new greenfield town-core of 58 acres (excluding roads, sidewalks, and parking lots), which will comprise of approximately 1.4 million square feet of high-density apartment/condominium residential space, a blend of high and low-rise buildings, with up to a maximum of 10 storeys. Serving the community will be about 550,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The town centre alone will cost close to $400 million to construct, and retailers are being sought to join the exciting new community. 

Clairmont Heights boasts a beautiful waterfront location, and ample views. The four-square mile Clairmont Lake is visible from a gentle south slope on the site, and picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains and the night lights of the City of Grande Prairie can be seen beyond. The blend of high and low-rise buildings will be situated to optimize the site lines and views towards Clairmont Lake. 

Clairmont Heights will feature a Parkway with spacious sidewalks, and a boulevard that can accommodate seasonal activities, food trucks, and a central gathering point for all residents and visitors. This location, along with the character and form design guidelines, is intended to create a resort-like destination look and feel — not often found in the province of Alberta. 

The development is the result of long-term planning with engagement and input from both community and industry. The importance of place-making, community spirit and connections were all focal points during the planning stages. All necessary aspects including the interactive use of roads, trails, parks and green space were key elements necessary to create a sustainable and vibrant community — differentiating Clairmont Heights from resource boom-towns that were built in the past. 

Clairmont Heights is remarkably well connected, with Highway 2 and 43 being minutes from the town core, connecting to the larger cities within Alberta including the City of Grande Prairie, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Cache, Peace River, Valleyview, and, in the B.C. Peace River region, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. Additionally, the Airport of Grande Prairie, currently with nearly a half a million annual passengers, and the existing amenities in Clairmont and the City of Grande Prairie, are just a 20 minute drive away. 

The region’s economy is diverse, with industries including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, transportation, and service. Unlike many other regions in the Province of Alberta, Oil and Gas represent a relatively small portion of Clairmont’s overall employment income, accounting for only about 18% of its total — making Clairmont and the County of Grande Prairie less susceptible to resource market fluctuations.  

The labour force is also young and affluent – its median age is just 36.8 years old, with Clairmont’s median annual family income being 128,380, and a median income for couples with children being $124,723. Cost of living is reasonable, so households have strong discretionary incomes. 

The Trade Area includes approximately 280,000 people within the 200 kilometre radius. As a part of the greater trade area population, Northern Alberta’s population represents over 230,000 people, with approximately 9,400 registered companies employing over 115,000 employees and annually generating over $9.3 billion into the economy. In addition to this, Ironstone Mines has formally announced that they are now permitted to begin the operations of their mine, construction of their steel mill and manufacturing center located in Clear Hills — about 60 minutes north of Clairmont. Ironstone anticipates hiring upwards of 1,000 skilled workers, with operations in full production by 2021. 

It should be noted that the daily businesses of government, for all nine Districts within the County of Grande Prairie, is conducted under one streamlined, centrally located, administrative building. Development and Building Permits can be processed and issued to applicants within 45 business days. As an added bonus, the County of Grande Prairie and Clairmont have no Development Cost Charges and furthermore, Alberta is the only remaining province in Canada, that does not charge provincial sales tax. 

For more information on Clairmont Heights, contact Chris King, Economic Development Manager, at 780-513-3956 or by email: cking@countygp.ab.ca

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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