City ponders potential uses for KDN building — parkade, performing arts centre, City Hall?

NEWS — As City council ponders the best use for its newest building acquisition, a new City Hall might come into the discussion, says Mayor Peter Milobar.

The City announced earlier today it has come to agreement with Glacier Media to buy the Kamloops Daily News building at 393 Seymour St. for $4.8 million.

Parking fund money is being used for purchase of KDN building.

Parking fund money is being used for purchase of KDN building.

Parks, recreation and culture director Byron McCorkell told The Armchair Mayor News this afternoon that while the most immediate scenario appears to be using the property for a much-needed downtown parkade, a new performing arts centre might also be a possibility.

Milobar says the closure of The Daily News put pressure on the City to buy the property so the surface parking lot wasn’t sold off separately.

While Glacier Media was one of the respondents to the City’s request for proposals for a downtown parking solution, that plan included some space in the building for the newspaper’s continued operation, he said.

When the paper closed in January, negotiations sped up because the land deal became simpler and because the City was concerned the property would be split up.

“It became a much more simplified deal when it closed,” he said.

“Our first priority was, with the change of operation, they wanted to move forward quickly. So we weren’t in the position of being able to drag this out. It was really ‘do we want to gamble that there’s few large pieces of land in downtown kamloops preassembled.’ Did we want it divided up?

“The reality is that Glacier has no more presence here, and you have a bare lot that would have easily sold quickly. We didn’t want to lose the existing parking and we wanted to expand it. That was first.

“Second, we wanted to make sure any sites we looked at were big enough for other potential. This is big enough to house other things than just parking.”

Those other possibilities include building a performing arts centre or a new city hall on the site, with a parkade below.

City council has to decide later this month whether it wants to invest $260,000 on studies for the performing arts centre. Milobar said that amount includes geotechnical studies.

The City has no plans to use the existing building — which used to house the Hudson’s Bay Company before the Daily News moved in — at this time, the mayor said.

Last November, the City installed new parking pay stations to replace the old meters and increased rates.

The parking increase was brought in to help pay for the cost of the new kiosks, but also to raise money for other parking options, such as a downtown parkade. Milobar said he didn’t know if the new parking rates are meeting projections.

About Mel Rothenburger (9483 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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