Hammer Down for Summerside Construction
Construction is a core economic indicator, right up there with labour, number of businesses, and vacancy rates. In fact, YTD building permit values are posted at the bottom of every one of our newsletters. When people think of Economic Development, they may believe that it’s only Commercial and Industrial permits that are relevant, but not so. While those two are certainly important, Residential and Institutional permits need to be part of the conversation as well.
Economic development is about more than increasing the number of businesses, the number of jobs, and commercial assessments. The other main ingredient is remembering that we are human, and so things like health care, recreation, schools, environment, energy, safety, and morale are just as important. If you are unable to convince existing or future businesses that your quality of life is worth sticking around for, you may notice tumbleweeds starting to roll across your town. In other words, Residential permits (houses, row houses, townhouses, apartments) and Institutional permits (schools, libraries, recreational facilities, churches) are just as noteworthy.
Chart 1: Summerside building permit values in millions of dollars for the past decade. Each year is displayed in three categories: “Residential”, “Commercial/Industrial”, and “Institutional”. For 2020, the chart value is current up to the end of October. Source: City of Summerside, Dept. of Technical Services.
In Chart 1, from 2010 to 2017, there is some modest ebb and flow to the total value of permits. An important point is that Institutional values often don’t reflect a carefully timed or deliberate investment like the other categories. Rather, they are often reflective of when the government decides it’s Summerside’s turn for spending. For instance, in 2017, there was a major project at Three Oaks Senior High School worth $27M. Another example was in 2018 when the Prince County Hospital received a $4.2M addition.
The crux of this article is with the years 2019 and 2020, particularly how their Residential values are more than double compared with previous years in Chart 1. It was nice to see 2019 take shape because there were several indicators that significant construction would take place, such as a vacancy rate below 1% since 2018, an influx of PNP newcomers, the purchase of several empty subdivision lots, and people aging-out of their countryside homes and moving to Summerside.
At the beginning of 2020, all signs were pointing to more of the same, but when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it turned expectations on their head. Would 2020 be the worst ever where everyone puts their plans on hold? It turns out the answer was no and 2020 ended up surpassing 2019. One can’t help but wonder by how much the 2020 numbers could have been even better in the absence of the pandemic.
Here are some Residential highlights from 2016 to 2020 for new construction:
Table 1: New Residential construction for Summerside from 2016 to 2020.
Note that the numbers in parentheses () that follow some entries represent the total number of units. For example, if 3 row houses are built with 5 units each, then the cell would read “3 (15)”. For “Single Family”, “Semi-Detached”, and “Townhouse”, there is no need for parentheses. Source: City of Summerside, Dept. of Technical Services
Table 1 tells an interesting tale. Although there is some variation, overall, as time progresses to 2020, there is a clear tendency toward brisk Residential development. Incidentally, 70 of the apartment units started in 2019 would be located at The Portside, a large development along Water St. Downtown. Its rendering is pictured above.
We are always looking to capitalize on momentum, so our Department has taken a central role in several upcoming development projects, including Hippenstall’s Corner (corner of Water St. and Greenwood Dr.), the Core Block (corner of Water St. and Summer St.), the Summerside Sunbank (Bayview Dr.), and the Business Commons Eco-Park (Greenwood Dr.) which will add a staggering 115,000 sq ft of new light industrial space. By doubling down on our success, we are ensuring a prosperous Summerside for years to come.
A Tale of Two Cities
Allan Marshall & Associates Expands
We have a saying in our department: “It all begins with a conversation”. That point was illustrated beautifully when Patrick O’Connell from Allan Marshall & Associates casually engaged with our office over the summer. Allan Marshall & Associates has nine offices throughout the Maritimes, including Patrick’s location on Mount Edward Rd. in Charlottetown, but he explained their interest in adding a second PEI office in Summerside.
Patrick O’Connell of Allan Marshall & Associates first approached our office to discuss expansion plans in July. Three months later, they were ready to start meeting clients at 674 Water St. East in Summerside (Strategic Business Centre).
The benefit of a Summerside office is clear. Allan Marshall & Associates can service clients in Prince County much more readily from Summerside, thereby saving them a lengthy drive. The initial conversation took place in mid-July where Patrick laid out his needs, including ground floor space, parking spaces, and the ability to have both building and road signage. Over the next two weeks, our department put together some possibilities and then Patrick paid a visit to check them out.
After thinking things over, Allan Marshall & Associates signed a lease in mid-August at 674 Water St. East (Strategic Business Centre) and began occupying their unit starting in October. In other words, Patrick went from his first discussion to settling in Summerside in just 3 months.
Seeking Summerside space had been on Patrick’s mind for a while now, but he wasn’t sure about who to approach with this sort of thing. It turns out a simple conversation between him and Summerside EDO is all it took to get the ball rolling and now Summerside is home to another professional services provider a few months later.
The model Patrick adopted has been gaining momentum in the past couple of years. That is, there is a business located outside of Summerside that wishes to open a new office here and spend a few days per week servicing the western part of PEI. We are happy to help others achieve this as well. Whatever your space needs happen to be, our office can help connect you to the space you seek.
If you are interested in finding Summerside business space, you can browse our Available Sites tool: http://www.bigpossibilities.ca/property-search
Note that not every known space is within this tool since some property owners prefer to be approached privately and other similar reasons. Contact us to find out more.
About Allan Marshall & Associates:
Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm with locations throughout the Maritime provinces. Licensed by the Federal Government of Canada to administer bankruptcies, consumer proposals, receiverships, and other insolvency services. The caring team at Allan Marshall & Associates have the knowledge and experience to assess your situation and provide all the different options and pros/cons of every particular option that a person has for dealing with any potential financial hardship that they may be struggling with.
Strategic Business Centre, 674 Water St. E, Unit 1B, Summerside
As with past newsletters, we are once again featuring two newcomer entrepreneurs to Summerside. This month, we have Nga Ong from G&T Book Café and Eddie Kong from CAN Car Race and Model.
G&T Book Café
Meet Nga Ong!
Nga is a very recent new business owner in Summerside, having only opened her book café a few weeks ago in October. Her journey first began with our office in June 2018 where she told us about the bookstores she opened in Vietnam and showed us a booklet of the many food items and the café layout she had planned for her Summerside offering. Even when she first visited, she was well aware of our reputation as a “Food Island”.
Food-related business concepts are often more complex than others since there are the added layers of equipment, fit-ups, certifications, and so forth, so Nga is thrilled to be up and running. As she claims “I wish to contribute to develop Summerside into a modern, multicultural city with many restaurants, particularly Asian restaurants. Further, I want to introduce our Vietnamese traditional foods to attract both residents and visitors.”
Nga’s business is called G&T Book Café and is located at 30 Spring St. in Downtown Summerside. Before she bought the building, it used to house 3rd Degree Training, and before that, NAPA Auto Parts. G&T is a family-owned restaurant, dessert café, and craft book shop in the heart of Downtown. Found beside the Fire Hall, Nga describes it as “A little shop that offers homemade Vietnamese classics, including the famous Pho soup, Vietnamese sticky buns, spring rolls, and delicately made desserts and coffee. While you are in, you can browse our shop for artisan-made crafts, giftware, and home décor made by our family members back in Vietnam. We also have books and other little trinkets.”
Nga joins us from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and she now lives in Summerside with her spouse and two children. “I love Summerside very much and I want to live here for a long time. This is why I chose to buy a house instead of renting” says Nga. She continues, proclaiming “Summerside has many beautiful views with pure air and everyone is so nice. This is a safe place to live, the cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high. Summerside has opportunities for growth in many sectors.”
When asked about why she chose to name the business G&T, she sweetly replied “Those are my boys. ‘G’ is Gates and ‘T’ is Tony. Isn’t that great?” It certainly is.
G&T Book Café
30 Spring St., Summerside (next to Fire Hall)
Monday to Friday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
902-436-7919 (main), 902-315-0096 (cell)
CAN Car Race and Model
Meet Eddie Kong!
Eddie is a new businessman in Summerside, having opened his model hobby store earlier this year in March. He first visited our office in February 2019, so his journey from discovering the community to opening his store is quite swift compared to most. Eddie was enamoured with Summerside right from the start. As he puts it “I chose Summerside because it is an amazing city with many possibilities. Slot car racing and model cars/trains are a niche market business, but the customers are worldwide, and so Summerside is a great location. It was easy to get set-up and the support from local companies helped us connect with people in PEI, around Canada, and even different countries.”
Eddie’s business is called CAN Car Race and Model, or CCR Model for short, and it is located at 622 Water St. East (next to Quality Inn). It is a special and unique model hobby retail store for high-quality scaled slot racing cars, model vehicles, and model railway. Besides the physical store, he also has an online store (www.CANCarRaceModel.com
). Eddie remarks “Not only does the physical store have the models, but also there is a slot-racing area (4 lanes) and a model car and railway building area. This gives every customer a fruitful and exciting experience with their friends and family. Further, customers can rent the racing area for their own competition events or birthday parties. We hope to bring inspiration and happiness to everyone with slot racing and model building.”
At the outset of Eddie’s interest in Summerside, a significant piece of his business plan included taking advantage of PEI’s tourist season and proximity to the Confederation Bridge. Like many, the pandemic has impacted those plans, but he hopes to be a must-visit amusement location for Summerside visitors when people can travel freely.
The choice to begin this sort of hobby shop came naturally to Eddie. Not only is he enthusiastic about his offering, but he also possesses an impressive technical background in manufacturing engineering. In the past, he has overseen the production of slot cars, including design, debugging, and delivery. The relationships he already has in place will undoubtedly assist him in his pursuit to combine technology and recreation in a cool and modern way.
Before moving to Summerside, Eddie lived in Hong Kong. He now enjoys the more relaxed lifestyle that the Island has to offer along with his wife, Candy, and his two children, Sophie and Edison. As he points out “Summerside is a nice place to live and grow up, and my family enjoys our new life here very much, especially the residents. Islanders are very supportive and respectful to each other. During my settlement of both business and personal matters, people here acted like one big family, giving a great welcome to newcomers like us. It’s a valuable trait that makes us proud to be here.”
Eddie continues by saying “Besides the residents, we like many other things such as recent construction, education, and entertainment. These all enhance our quality of life and provide a fantastic childhood for our kids.”
Summerside by the Numbers
If interested in learning more about investment opportunities, economic development support or opportunities for growth, please call our Economic Development Professionals.
We would love to chat.
Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com.
It could be the most profitable email you ever send.
Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
M: 902.432.0103, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
LET’S BUILD THE FUTURE TOGETHER!