District 1881 – Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation

2023 BC Economic Development Award Winner

For over two decades, residents, business owners and City of Chilliwack committees worked together to define the vision for Chilliwack's downtown. Following 2011 recommendations from the City's Downtown Core Task Force, the City of Chilliwack, and the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO) assembled 21 properties in the site bounded by Young Road, Yale Road, Princess Avenue, and Empress Lane. In 2018, after many years of work and a Request for Proposals, the contract for the redevelopment of the 3.75-acre downtown site was awarded to Algra Bros. Developments.

The innovative redevelopment has already transformed the downtown into a sustainable and thriving community and set the benchmark for all subsequent development downtown. District 1881 is home to a combination of retail, commercial, residential, and mixed-use developments as part of the multi-year, multi-phase project that provides a balance of jobs, amenities, and housing to create a diverse and inclusive downtown core.

The District 1881 development has created new opportunities for attracting business, investment, and residents to the downtown core and community as a whole. District 1881 is home to 25 new and pre-existing businesses (with more on the way),  bringing an increase in the overall tax base, creating new jobs, creating a residential investment radius of three blocks, and contributing to the overall economic growth of Chilliwack. In fact, property values in downtown Chilliwack have tripled in some cases as a direct result of this development.

The profile of downtown Chilliwack has increased dramatically, and is a destination for people to come shop, dine, play, and work. District 1881 is the catalyst to the overall redevelopment of the downtown core and is strongly supported by Chilliwack residents, businesses, stakeholders, and leadership.

This project is replicable and transferable and could be adapted for use in other communities that have a downtown core that could be revitalized. A walkable downtown core is ideal to create a variety of retail, commercial, residential, and mixed-use developments to support a vibrant and safe urban centre.

Downtown revitalization is a subject often driven by emotions and memories of residents, many differing opinions, municipal leadership, private sector champions, and time and patience.

The downtown core has been at the heart of Chilliwack since its beginning. Its strategic, central location and inherent heritage value make it the ideal place for redevelopment and revitalization into a hub for the future while respecting its historic past.