New professional building: Broadway Commons on track to open in August

June 4, 2021, 3:15 pm
Kevin Weedmark

Tyler Thorn in front of Broadway Commons at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Main Street.

A need for professional office space in Moosomin led to the creation of Broadway Commons in the former Broadway Stationery Building at the corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue.

Four of the 17 offices are filled already—real estate agent Kim Setrum will take one office, Parkland CPAP services will take one, Bridges Law will take one office, and a fourth will be a shared office space for people who just need a space one day a week.

Tyler Thorn, Kim Setrum and Dale Nixon are the three partners in the venture.

“We’re hoping August 1 we’ll be ready to take some tenants if everything stays on track and all the pieces fall into place,” said Thorn.

The building was developed to try to fill the need for professional office space in Moosomin.
“A couple of things happened simultaneously,” Thorn says.

“One was that I had to go to the sleep clinic in Regina, and after three trips in, I wasn’t there more than 90 minutes total to appointments. I thought that’s a lot of driving for some short appointments.

“I talked to so many people who have those (sleep apnea) machines, so that was the first thing. I thought we need a sleep clinic in town. At the same time, there was a lot of talk about another lawyer in town. Most transactions need two lawyers, two firms. And I got thinking, where do we put them if we can attract them to town?

“Then when I got involved with Economic Development it was even more obvious that (EDO) Greg (Gillespie) was working on a lot of things trying to bring people to town, but we had nowhere to put them. So that was where the idea started. I talked to some people about buying a building and renovating it for offices and a lot of people thought it was a good idea.”

He said professional services is his main target for the building.

“I really think there are a lot of services we could use in Moosomin, particularly in the medical field. Some of those services, foot clinics, sleep clinics, those types of services, are services that people have had to leave town for now.

“Even if they’re not here full time, but for a day or two a week, it would allow people to get all their needs locally, not have to leave town. I think from an Economic Development point of view, when people leave town their money goes with them. The more services we can offer locally, the more it keeps people here. Plus then we become the centre for Elkhorn, Redvers, all the surrounding communities can come here instead of going to Regina. It’s good for all the local businesses and good for those towns too if people can travel 15 minutes for a service instead of two hours to the city. When people come to town they’re going to eat in the restaurants and they’re going to buy their groceries.”

The plan came together very quickly. “We made the offer to purchase around the 1st of March, had possession by the 17th, and we were into the demolition work before April 1, so it was pretty quick,” said Thorn. “I’m glad Dale (Szafron, the former building owner) accepted our offer. When Kim told him what our plans were, I think he had some aspirations for the same type of thing, to turn it into a professional office space and just never did it. So I think that factored into it, he liked that plan and felt it was the right thing for the community. I think that helped.

“Once our offer was accepted, I talked to a few people about the concept and there was a lot of interest. In fact, I had a lot of people, when I ran the idea past them, that said ‘if you need a partner in that let me know, I’ll write a cheque.’ I had lots of offers for partners. As it turns out, it’s not a business that needs a lot of people and a lot of investment. It’s too small of a business to have 10 partners, so there are just three of us.”

Thorn said he thinks it may take two years to completely fill the building.

“It might take a couple years to fill it, I’m guessing. The sooner the better. Once it’s built and people can see it, it’ll fill up quicker. It’s hard to visualize what it’s going to look like, but I think once we get it open, it will start to fill up. 17 offices is a lot of space, so it’s going to require a little bit of effort to attract some new services to town.”

He said the timing worked out well for the CPAP business that will be coming to town this summer as one of the first tenants.

“That was just good timing,” he said. “They were in the mood to expand their business and Greg did a lot of leg work there. I met them here at the building and showed them around. We met here at 10 in the morning and by the end of the day they verbally committed to come. So that one went together pretty quick.

“With Chad (Jesse of Bridges Law) it’s sort of the same deal. I’ve been dealing with Chad for a number of years and it’s always a bit of a conversation we have, him and I. He did all the legal work on the real estate deal for this building. So he came up and I introduced him to some of the locals, and Greg was involved in that meeting as well, and within a few days he had agreed to set up shop, part-time anyway to start, but I think he’s hoping there’s a full-time opportunity here.”

Thorn believes the same model can work to add more commercial space in Moosomin.

“I really think this model works. You need some local investment. You need investors that have a little more at stake than just a return. They’ve got to care about the community, they’ve got to see some indirect benefits to the investment, whether it be a spinoff for their existing business or spinoff for their friend’s business or it’s good for their personal real estate values to see the community thrive. So I do think there’s an appetite for locals to invest, particularly in the real estate side of things if you can find operators to run the businesses. I think there is a desire out there for that right now.”

What has motivated Thorn and his partners to put the work into creating the new office space?

“It’s not about the returns, the amount of investment, time and effort I put in here, I could put that much time and effort into the dealership and make more money,” he says. “Certainly it’s not about the returns, but I think it’s making the community better. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re not going to make any money here, obviously it’s a business and we’re going to run it that way, but that’s not the main reason. The reason we’re doing this is I just think it makes our community stronger if we’ve got more services offered her, and it makes the other businesses in town stronger. The more services we have, the more traffic we bring to town. It’s just kind of a snowball effect. So that’s kind of what we’re hoping, to just make sure the community has more to offer.”

Initially the partners considered a mix of retail and office space for the building, but decided to keep it a professional office.

“We had half a dozen concepts and there were a couple that included some retail space at the front,” says Thorn. “At the end of the day we decided that if our target is to bring professionals in, that we should focus on that.”

Thorn said he has heard a lot of positive comments about the plan. “People seem to be fairly receptive,” he said. “I think most people are happy to see something happening, nobody wants empty buildings on main street. Everybody’s got an opinion of what should be in here, so that’s always fun to hear what people think should be here. It’s all positive.”