CALGARY - Thousands of people pass the Tsuut'ina nation along 37th Street S.W. every day, but few have likely seen the Costco, the anchor tenant of a huge new retail project being built by a group of Tsuut'ina Nation developers, going up through the ring road construction.
The big box store will be the anchor tenant for a new retail complex known as the TAZA Exchange at the south end of the Tsuut’ina First Nation near the 130th Avenue bridge being built to connect to the ring road.
Excitement about the new complex's potential is growing.
"Another phrase they are using (to describe the development) is the Shops at Buffalo Run," said Darrin Jaimeson, CEO of Tsuut'ina Business. "Because the shops that go along there are on a buffalo run."
“They are going to twin that (road) and have traffic going in and out, so a lot of traffic is going to be flowing through there.”
Jamieson expects the Costco to spur rapid growth of the business park which, despite being on First Nation land, sits only a few hundred metres from developed neighbourhoods in Calgary.
“In Calgary, all you have to do is create a zone with an access ramp, and if it’s a major highway, you are going to have a lot of traffic there. And if you’ve got neighbourhoods that are underserved, you are going to have a ready-made market there," Jamieson said.
TAZA Exchange will also offer businesses lower taxes than what comparable businesses inside Calgary's corporate limits pay. A source close to the band council told CTV the tax savings could be as much as 40 per cent.
While he wouldn’t confirm the numbers, Jamieson did say the taxes on the First Nation are expected to offer a saving to businesses located there.
”In a development partnership, they share in the lease and rental revenue stream," said Jamieson. “On top of that, they will apply a tax, and it will be very competitiive.”
It’s all part of a huge $4.5-billion series of retail, residential and entertainment complexes to line the ring road from north to south through the First Nation, the first step of which is the TAZA Experience retail park.
It is expected to be ready for its first customers early next year, about a year ahead of the expected completion of the southwest leg of the ring road, which is expected to be completed in 2021.