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Work underway on Dollarama, new restaurants in Elmira

Underground services will connect a new 6,900-square-foot building.
Underground services will connect a new 6,900-square-foot building.

Development at Foodland site will include a new building to house Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet operation

Servicing work underway this week at the Foodland site in Elmira is setting the stage for a new building to house at least two restaurants. In the existing building, the grocery store and new arrival Pet Valu will be joined by a Dollarama outlet.

On the part of the property closest to Arthur Street, underground services are now being installed to serve a new 6,900-square-foot building that’s expected to include a combination Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet restaurant (3,000 sq. ft.) and a Pita Pit operation (1,200 sq. ft.). The use of a third unit of about 2,500 sq. ft. has yet to be determined.

John Scarfone, Woolwich’s manager of planning, said this week the owner of the site, Sobeys Capital Inc., has all the necessary approvals to go ahead with the expansion.

“We’ve given them site-plan approval,” he said, noting the developer just needs to pick up a building permit to get started. “I’ve signed off on that.”

The subject of some legal wrangling, the project got the green light last May when the township and Sobeys reached an agreement just prior to a scheduled Ontario Municipal Board hearing. Woolwich had turned down the company’s larger original plan and a later bid simply to install a Dollarama store in the long-vacant space beside the Foodland store. That refusal provoked Sobeys’ appeal to the provincial tribunal.

Under the deal, in exchange for the dollar store, Sobeys will pay the township $40,000 towards a future commercial policy review, contribute $10,000 over two years to the Elmira BIA and not request any additional expansion at the site for three years.

The original proposal put forward by Sobeys called for the Foodland store to expand into the vacant portion of the existing building, increasing in size to 47,000 sq. ft. from the current 34,000. A 22,000-sq.-ft. addition was to be built on to the current structure, some 9,000 sq. ft. for a retail outlet such as a dollar store and 13,000 sq. ft. for a mix of retail, services and offices, perhaps including a wine store. Two separate freestanding buildings were to be constructed on the west side of the current parking lot, closer to Arthur Street: a 6,900-sq.-ft. unit to house a restaurant with a drive-thru and one of 8,000 sq. ft.

Scarfone said the food store expansion is off the table, as the township sees no need for more grocery space at this point, unconvinced by the latest retail study presented by the developer.

While the agreement would allow for an addition to the existing building, that’s not part of the current plan, he added.

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