KAMLOOPS—When Sheila Minten was growing up and her father, Casey Van Dongen, was developing a small development and construction empire, she never dreamed she’d one day join the family business. Now, as Manager of Total Concept Developments Ltd., she’s joined her father in a mission to beautify Kamloops, the place they call home.
Frequently working in close collaboration with their construction partner, Tri City Canada Inc. (which is headed by Minten’s husband, Shaun Minten), Total Concept’s mission is “to create…sustainable and a high-quality construction project[s].” For Minten, the opportunity to make Kamloops progressively more “aesthetically pleasing” is an exciting aspect of that mission.
“Community is extremely important to us,” she says. “We love building and expanding it, developing it into a more beautiful place.”
Total Concept Developments manages all aspects of its development projects, from design to permits to marketing. With construction support from Tri City, the company focuses on land development, multi-family housing, commercial lease properties, and residential lease properties.
Often, Total Concept is tasked with revitalizing older buildings. The idea is to update functionality, but also to create a more attractive city.
“The office I’m sitting in is a great example,” says Minten. “We tore this two-storey building down to studs and built it all back into something that has a real impact on the appearance of the street. We also added a floor and upgraded it to be built to today’s technology.”
Total Concept Developments Believe In Projects That Help Their Hometown Realize Its Potential
It all began in 1981, when Van Dongen incorporated the company to build a 10-unit condo townhome project in Kamloops. When the real estate market slumped in the late eighties, Total Concept took ownership of the project, beginning to accumulate rental and holding properties.
Currently, the company is focused on planning a new project for downtown Kamloops. It’s a revitalization of an older apartment building, originally intended as housing for hospital employees, at 1st and Columbia.
The Lightwell is another example of the type of development Total Concept engages in order to help Kamloops reach its potential as a city. As a centrally located downtown condo development, it connects homeowners with an opportunity to enjoy a more urban lifestyle.
“One thing that sets us apart is my dad’s ability to think outside the box,” says Minton. “With (previous project) Library Square, we did a P3 partnership and worked with the Library to make a landmark building on the North Shore and start the revitalization there.”
Giving back is always important to the team. For example, they are currently working on a project called the Big Little Science Centre, giving the science program a new home after it was displaced by a fire at the Happyvale School. Total Concept is also active with the Kamloops Downtown Business Improvement Association, Rotary, and The Alzheimer’s Society of BC, and other non-profits.
For Minten, who previously lived in Vancouver as a real estate professional, the city is well worth their efforts. Development, she acknowledges, can be a grueling, painstaking process, but the results are important.
“This can be exhausting work,” she says. “But we love Kamloops. I mean, what an incredible place! There are endless things to do here, from the wineries to world-class skiing. In the time that most people spend commuting to work, I can reach an outdoor adventure.”