New business opportunity in Houston

The former shell site on Highway 16 is remediated and ready for construction

A new business opportunity has opened up on the vacant lot on Highway 16.

Steve Arky bought the commercially zoned lot on Aug.13 from Shell, and it is completely remediated and ready for construction, he says.

“For the next few months, we’re perfectly willing to sell it,” Arky says, but if they don’t get their asking price by spring, they plan to build on it themselves, he added.

There have been a lot of suggestions for the lot already, from a meat shop to a bakery to a produce store, and he’s not sure what will happen yet, he says.

“My wife would really like to start a bakery,” he added.

Arky said they have approached Tim Hortons about the lot, but were told that since about a year ago they have suspended all new starts in Canada because they are expanding into the U.S., UK and China.

“We pleaded with them, because just about every single person in town we’ve talked to wants a Hortons there,” said Arky.

Other ideas keep flying around, but nothing is settled, said Arky.

“It’s right dead-centre in the middle of town, right on the highway—there’s no better location in town for a business.”

“It’s a premium piece of property, and by all accounts nobody knew it was for sale,” Arky said, adding that most people assumed it was still contaminated because of the fence and Hazco sign.

But after four or five months and an awful lot of paperwork and lawyers, Arky says he now owns a certificate of compliance and the papers showing that, after vapour and ground testing, the lot is clean of contaminates.

“There is quite a bit of buzz about it already,” he said, adding that friends have been calling excited about the sale and glad that something is finally happening there.

“Al Madigan, the owner of the A&W, he came right out and almost gave me a hug there just because we were cleaning up that lot,” said Arky.

“It just cleaned the main street up,” Madigan said.