More than 15 years ago, the founders of WestMark Holdings Ltd. and developers of Cooper’s Crossing had a vision of what the community could be. Now, one of the central pieces of their plans is close to becoming a reality.
Located in the southwest corner of Cooper’s Crossing adjacent to 40th Avenue and Eighth Street, the 12-acre Cooper’s Town Promenade shopping centre – set to open in 2017 – will help complete the community and offer residents near and far something very special.
“Our first showhome opened in 1999 and finally our vision is coming together and we are quite pleased with how it’s working out,” says Paul Gerla, who helped found the family-owned WestMark with father Rod and brother Keith. “I think residents will appreciate having many of their daily needs within walking distance, and it’s shaping up to be such a nice-looking shopping centre. The plan includes a charming main street and a grand outdoor plaza.”
The shopping centre provides the final piece of the puzzle to make the community complete with all the features the Gerlas thought were important.
“We imagined creating a place where residents could spend a Sunday afternoon strolling along streets lined with really nice homes. Perhaps they would choose to walk along the pond on their way to the shops for a coffee and a few things for dinner from the grocery store. Then they could let the kids burn off energy at the playground on the way home. All without ever needing to get in the car,” Gerla says.
Established in the late 1980s, WestMark – which along with the founders consists of Helen Shields, Mel Munstermann and Melinda Pryor – is also the developer of Waterstone Park and The Springs. When it came to the Cooper’s Crossing shopping area, the Airdrie business has been working closely with Ronmor, the Calgary-based development and management company that owns and manages a large number of shopping centres, office buildings and industrial properties.
“Ronmor has spent tremendous design effort to come up with an ambitious concept plan for Cooper’s Town Promenade and we feel very fortunate to partner with one of the most reputable commercial developers in the province.” says Gerla. “We now look forward to working with the City to finalize plans in a way that meets the very high expectations of everyone involved.”
“Our hope has always been that this project will be in keeping [with] the outstanding residential portion of the community and eventually be regarded as the nicest shopping centre in town,” he adds.
Cooper’s Town Promenade is expected to include Save-On Foods, Highlander Wine & Spirits, a drug store, a child care facility, a gas bar and a coffee shop as well as dental and medical offices. An exciting array of smaller boutique shops and restaurants will join the mix as the project nears completion.
“When people think of the most appealing shopping destinations, they think of Kensington and Fourth Street (in Calgary) … it’s very hard to replicate something that’s supported by a city of a million people and more than 100 years of history,” Gerla says. “But if you compare apples to apples and compare this Cooper’s Town plan to other recently built neighbourhood shopping centres, I think it’ll rank up there as one of the best anywhere in Calgary or Southern Alberta.”