Rezoning proposed as Mill Tower owner hopes to fill empty offices

Rezoning proposed as Mill Tower owner hopes to fill empty offices

Owner of prominent Abbotsford building wants to be able to rent to larger variety of businesses

The owner of the Mill Tower on Gladys Avenue hopes to be allowed to rent office space to an expanded range of companies after finding it hard to fill the prominent building over the last decade.

The tower was converted from a grain mill to an office tower in 2008/2009, with five of its eight floors slated to be used for companies that serviced industrial businesses.

But nearly a decade after the conversion, the building remains more than half-empty, according to a submission to the city. The tower’s owner has now requested a rezoning that will allow it to rent or sell office space to commercial services, including insurance, health care and real estate companies.

A staff report recommended approval of the proposal, noting that it conforms to the Official Community Plan’s commercial designation – although it will be slightly denser than envisioned in the OCP.

The move would also see the back half of the property rezoned as park, open space and school zone, to recognize the fact that the treed and hilled area cannot be developed.

Council voted Monday to allow the proposal to proceed to a public hearing in June.