By Steve Hubrecht
The skyline of Invermere temporarily had an unmissable, tall, pointy, yellow addition last week.
No, it wasn’t a new, local version of the Seattle Space Needle or the CN Tower. It was instead, a rather large crane working on a new mixed residential and commercial development.
The crane was in place because the development, which is going up on on long-vacant lot on 14th Street, is a modular development. Much of the building was prefabricated near Calgary, then shipped here and assembled on site. It caused a small buzz in Invermere, with residents pointing the sight out the Pioneer and gathering to gawk as the building was being put together in a fashion not altogether unlike Lego.
“They do need a pretty substantial crane to put everything in place,” Invermere mayor, Al Miller, told the Pioneer. “Certainly I’ve had comments about it…It’s kind of neat. I drove by myself to see it…It’s not something we are used to seeing in Invermere and it’s clearly been good entertainment for some people, as there were onlookers out watching it.”
The development is spearheaded by Brian Smit, representing Calgary-based BRT Consulting Ltd. and when finished it will be a four-story, 11-housing unit, tucked roughly between the dentist office and rodeo grounds. Plans for the development were approved back in 2021 and called for four buildings (one a four housing-unit purely residential building, another seven housing-unit purely residential building, and two more buildings with a total of 3,300 square feet for six units of ground-level street-front commercial property facing 14th Street and then residential units above). But not all of that is going up at once; the developers plan on building in phases, starting with the four-unit residential building. The first ‘story’ of the development will actually be ground-floor parking garages.
The developers were granted a variance for those garages as well as for a fourth-story rooftop structure and deck area. The fourth story is meant to take up about third of the full footprint of the fourth floor and function somewhat like a mini-penthouse (or ‘den’) for the townhouse-like residential units below, with the remaining two-thirds of the fourth story becoming deck space.
At the time the variance was approved Invermere council members said they felt the scale and density of the development fit the neighbourhood well.