The District of Mission purchased nearly a block of property in downtown Mission with the goal of attracting a university to the area and stimulating growth.
Mission purchased 7337 Welton St. – the former Buy-Low building – for $1.95 million and will take possession at the end of January.
Mayor Ted Adlem made the announcement at the Chamber of Commerce Christmas luncheon Thursday afternoon.
Adlem says he has had several discussions with University of the Fraser Valley administrators about relocating, but notes the move is also subject to approval from the provincial government.
Regardless of whether or not UFV leaves its current facility at Heritage Park Centre, the newly acquired district property will still be used as a cultural, educational or civic facility, as outlined in the district’s Downtown Action Plan.
Currently, the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre is located there, but most of the property is a pay parking lot.
“I’m excited about this,” said Adlem before the announcement. “Our current council unanimously said we’re going to generate a great plan for the redevelopment of downtown, and then we’ll move forward. This is our commitment. We’re serious.”
Adlem, who hopes the investment will also bring in developers, said he would like to see a three-way partnership between a university, the district and a developer to create a building that would also house commercial and residential units.
No tax revenue would be generated for the district if the facility only accommodated a school, he explained.
The purchase fulfills one of the 10 big moves identified by district planners as a catalyst for change downtown.