The former P.E.I. Mutual building in Summerside may have new tenants in the coming months, as organizations like Downtown Summerside and the Chamber of Commerce work towards a contract with the building’s owner.
During a recent city council meeting Mayor Bill Martin reported that organizations as well as the city’s economic development department were would soon be working together under the same roof at the Water Street location.
“There are several NGOs and departments that are going to set up shop. We’re looking at the Chamber of Commerce, P.E.I. Connectors, Downtown Summerside Explore Summerside, economic development,” said Martin.
He also mentioned Innovation P.E.I. would be located in the building, but upon reaching out to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, there was no confirmation.
It all started with the Chamber’s Forward Summerside initiative, he added.
“The city has been engaged in that process… I thought it made sense if the various organizations that all cross over and support economic development, existing business or potential business, were housed in one building.”
“The building will house five or six organizations, and employ about 10 people or so, but more importantly, the synergies of having everyone in the same building will be a resource. One plus one is more than two in this case.”
Dan Kutcher, the president of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, said no leases have been signed, but groups have been working closely with the owner of the building to rent the space.
“With everyone in the same space we can better utilize our shared resources and work better as a unit.”
“At this stage it’s still an idea. I think it’s a good one and it’s one we’re hoping to move forward with and sort out the terms of a lease.”
Kutcher said things would be better on a number of fronts by sharing the space.
“It will be better for existing businesses, potential businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as newcomers to be able to access a new variety of services and supports that each of the organizations bring to the table.
“It will benefit the organizations themselves in a couple of respects. I think we’ll work better together and there may be cost savings by sharing resources.”
Pierre Gallant, president of Downtown Summerside Inc. is hopeful about the prospect of the organizations sharing space.
“Whether it be newcomers or people starting businesses, everything will be in one spot. I think a frustrating thing for people is when they get to a spot and are told they need to speak to this person or that person and it’s not at the same location. So I think it’s efficient for people coming in and the organizations as well.”
Gallant said it would make working together easier.
“We’ll better know what the organizations are up to and help out if there are things we can collaborate on.”