SRDC NEWS

2016-06-10
WATERFRONT VISION - PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE - JUNE 22, 2016: 7PM
Ekistics Plan+Design is helping Summerside to plan for the next 25 years of its waterfront and dow...
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2016-06-09
EXPLORING ATTRACTS
Adventure Canada aims to deliver unique experiences of culture, history, and natural wonder, and suc...
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2016-05-20
VECTOR UPGRADES CAPACITY WITH NEW ENGINE TEST CELL
Trevor Hogan sat behind a shiny new control panel Wednesday morning, with all kinds of monitors, but...
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2016-01-19
SUMMERSIDE GROUP PLANNING WATER TAXI, UPGRADES TO HISTORIC LIGHTHOUSE
There are plans afoot to introduce some unique attractions to the City of Summerside’s waterfront. ...
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News STORY


MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Restoring the lustre of what was once Summerside's most thriving retail centres is a daunting task. Just ask Arnold Croken, general manager of the Summerside Regional Development Corporation, which was tasked with reinventing the Holman Building four years ago. The first task was renovating the building, which was originally constructed in 1857, into a modern, 100,000 square foot office centre. That is, until the Holman Building's first tenant came calling earlier than expected.

"In July of that year (2007), we were contacted by a company that was operating out of the Waterfront Mall, CareStream Health...and they were desperately looking for another space in Summerside," said Croken. "So in the early stages of construction we modified the ground floor as temporary accommodations to move that company in while we were still under construction."

So the e-health company, literally getting in on the ground floor of the project, became the Holman Building's first major tenant. The next year, the SRDC further solidified the building's status as the downtown core's primary office space when the Province decided to relocate its Education Department from Charlottetown to Summerside. Construction crews finished work on a third-floor office space for CareStream Health, and the government department took over the first floor. Those first two tenants drove the building's renewal. The Holman Building now houses a total of 275 employees, and is at just over 60 per cent capacity. Although one of the two original tenants is now mostly gone from the building, Croken said the SRDC is focused on attracting more businesses from the e-health IT sector.

"That continues to be the focus to this day. We lost CareStream to an internal change in that corporation that had nothing to do with the Summerside operation. In the meantime, there's been a number of other smaller companies that we've secured for the future," he said. "We're probably a little behind where we thought we'd be...but really (the building) has only been completed as of six months ago. It's probably slower than we had hoped for, but we're moving in the right direction." Croken hopes the Holman Building will be close to 85 per cent occupancy within the next year and a half.

"That will help us to expand activity beyond Holman's to other parts of the city for further growth," he said. "The whole purpose behind this project was to create opportunities in Summerside...and we'll continue to focus on bringing these jobs and these companies to Summerside."

The Holman Building at a glance

  • Constructed in 1857 as a department store for what was then the Island's largest retail firm, R.L. Holman Ltd.
  • Original dimensions were 134 feet by 105 feet
  • Expanded in 1919
  • Holman's went into receivership in 1970s, sold 1.58 acre building and property to Reliance Investments. Building became Dominion Square, housed various retail businesses and offices
  • Sold to Summerside Regional Development Corporation in March 2007
  • Now 100,000 square feet, office spaces range from 1,000 to 30,000 square feet.
  • Provincial Department of Education
  • Launchpad (Provincial program, provides working space for new IT companies)
  • Career Bridges/Tremploy Ltd. (Non-profit vocational support services for adults with disabilities)
  • Enable Health Care (Developer of web-based electronic health record systems)
  • Worklinks (IT company providing payroll solutions to Canadian companies)
  • Summerside Farmer's Market