Municipal guidelines dictate that buildings in Fort Langley’s commercial core must meet and respect the village’s heritage.
Eric Woodward has taken that a step further by naming a new commercial/residential development after two enterprising pioneers, David Coulter and John Berry.
Woodward bought the northwest corner of the former IGA site, at Glover Road and Mavis Street, and, adding it to the Frontier Building Supplies property he bought several years ago, is developing the Coulter Berry Building.
It will sit on the site of a general store owned by Coulter and Berry in the late 1800s.
A school teacher in Ontario for 15 years, Coulter came to Fort Langley in 1897 on his way to the Yukon goldfields, and stopped to visit friends Hugh Davidson and Robert Riddell, owners of the Murray’s Corners Store in Murrayville. Coulter Court in Bedford Landing is named after him.
Coulter contacted Berry, also a school teacher from Ontario, about forming a partnership to buy the Murray’s Corners Store. They did, and together also bought the general store in Fort Langley. Berry settled in Langley, and farmed in the area for many years.
The building, which will occupy 200 feet of Glover Road frontage, is a live-work-shop concept, said Kurt Alberts, an urban planning consultant whose role was to guide the public process in the project. Presented to the public in late May, the project received mostly enthusiastic response.
The building, which includes a central breezeway which will connect Glover Road to the new IGA, will have 10 apartments on the top floor, offices on the second, and shops on the bottom.
There will be parking underground for 58 cars.
Woodward lives in Fort Langley, and as president of the village’s Business Improvement Association, his focus is to revitalize the village’s commercial core.
The planned development will be combined with the land formerly occupied by Frontier Building Supplies, which closed in May, 2011.
For Woodward, it was important to him personally to add a sense of vibrancy to Fort Langley while respecting its past.
“The corner of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue is the most important corner in Fort Langley,” he said.
“It is critical to get it right, for all of Fort Langley. I take this responsibility very seriously. Creating an ideal mixture of vibrancy, and office and residential uses within a quality design is extremely important to me.”
Woodward has been involved in every detail, and says that with the mix of retail, office and residential within one building “we can begin to add more consistent weekday and evening activity to the commercial area, while providing residences adjacent to the local grocery store and local services. I think it is a great combination.”
The one and two bedroom apartments will range in size from 621 square feet to 1,335 square feet.
The southern end of the building overlooks the former Trove Cottage, now Beatniks bistro, at 9194 Glover Rd. So that the Coulter Berry building does not appear too imposing, architect Norm Davis, also a Fort resident, has tamed the south end by stepping down two storeys. This end, Woodward explained, will have a rooftop patio with mezzanine and ground level entrance.
He is anticipating at least one other restaurant in the building at the ground level.
Other ground level tenants will be a mix of shops and services which, combined with the new IGA in a plaza-like ambience, “will appeal to both local residents and visitors,” Woodward said.
The parkade not only provides sufficient off-street parking, it also allows much more versatility for the site.
“The ‘rear’ is actually frontage facing the IGA,” Woodward said. “And the breezeway, lane way and rear area form a pedestrian plaza that will be another unique aspect of Fort Langley, unlike anything we have here.”
Woodward calls the development “a team effort of landowners, local merchants, Township staff, and mayor and council.”
And, he added, “hopefully this is only the beginning.”