KAMLOOPS — One of the sentinels of downtown Kamloops has changed hands, and the sale could lead to more parking in the crowded downtown core.
5L Commercial Limited of Kelowna has announced the purchase of the former Bank of Montreal building at Second Avenue and Victoria Street from Jim Thomson, who is president and CEO of Plainsman Construction.
5L is the commercial real estate arm of a family trust formed for the children of Brian and Linda Lovig.
The purchase price for the nine-story building was $13.2 million.
Trust Manager Roberta Gizen says this is 5L's first foray into the Kamloops market, but there may be more to come.
"We do have real estate in other cities, but this is the first in Kamloops," said Gizen. "We were hoping to invest in this building and future buildings as we move forward. We do have a couple others in mind, hopefully to give back to the community and become a bit of a driving force behind it."
The building is home to several tenants, both government and private, and Gizen says it will stay that way.
"We intend to keep it status quo. We've hired CML Properties to manage the building. They managed it 15 prior, before Jim Thomson had owned it," she said. "So it's a good fit for us, and it's nice to have a competent property manager in place moving forward if we do make more acquisitions as well."
What may be music to the ears of the downtown business community is the plan to add more parking.
Gizen says 5L has acquired some adjacent parking areas, and one may become home to a parkade.
The city has long wrestled with the problem of a lack of parking options downtown, and Gizen says the trust hopes it can provide an answer.
"We're hoping so, because even for our tenants moving forward, we do have an additional 30 parking stalls leased from the City right now because what we have for available parking apparently wasn't good enough for the tenants. So for us, that was a solution," she said.
"We do have some other plans for the building. We're not ready to release them yet, but I think they'll be very exciting for the city. Nothing that will uproot the current tenants but the possibility of adding to the building or things that will enhance the downtown core."
The Bank of Montreal moved out of the building in 2006, relocating to Sahali.
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