Rejuvenating Kimberley’s Platzl

Kimberley’s new and improved Platzl is bringing back the charm to the Bavarian City

New businesses are popping up in Kimberley’s Platzl thanks in part to the work done by Alison Walker and Jamer Holdings.

New businesses are popping up in Kimberley’s Platzl thanks in part to the work done by Alison Walker and Jamer Holdings. — Photo courtesy Alison Walker

When you take a walk through Kimberley’s Platzl, it’s easy to be captivated by the charming Bavarian architecture and entranced by the warm and cozy feelings of this one-of-a-kind pedestrian-friendly area. It wasn’t quite like this a few years ago though. The Platzl has had its ups and downs. There have been fires, failed ventures and low tourism turnouts from time to time. When things are going well, the Platzl is bustling with dazzled tourists and delighted locals. When things aren’t going so well, it’s a different story. Rather than wait for things to change on their own and hope for the best, some entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to restore the Platzl’s lost lustre so it can be the thriving, lively place it is today. Alison Walker, COO of Jamer Holdings, is one of those people.

Jamer Holdings invests in undervalued properties in good locations and and repurposes them. Since 2013 when the company purchased the former Hudson’s Bay and Fields building, Jamer Holdings has been renovating the structure to help reinvigorate Kimberley’s Platzl. “We have been able to do this by offering affordable spaces for growing businesses and subsidized spaces for service groups while at the same time trying to incubate several entrepreneurial enterprises,” said Walker. “We strongly believe in organic growth.”

The 34,000-square-foot building is still in the midst of renovations and currently sits about half empty. Even so, the property helps the community in numerous ways including providing sustainable spaces, employment for contractors and summer positions for students.

Nitty gritty

As for specifics, there was and is a lot of maintenance being done. Jamer Holdings has repaired the areas of the building infrastructure that required immediate action, such as the leaky roof. Certain floors and walls were also replaced as needed. The building has become more energy efficient and sustainable by implementing an updated heating infrastructure as well as upgrading electrical to replace old, energy inefficient lights with newer lighting. Exterior work has also been completed to beautify the building by re-siding the front and painting the west side.

“Our plan was to tackle everything at the same time, while also trying to build a viable tenant base and support various community groups and organizations,” Walker said. “We’re slowly filling the underutilized building. It's not without its challenges but progress is being made.” 

Kyle Born

Kyle Born is a writer for Kootenay Business and his initials match that of the magazine—it must be fate that brought them together. View all of Kyle Born’s articles

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