Construction on the new downtown arena may be drawing new businesses to the area with a five-per-cent rise in development applications since January.

"We are seeing unprecedented growth," said city planner Duncan Fraser. "It's something that our community is not used to.  It's never seen before."

The city has seen 26 new development applications since January, most near the arena district.

"We see three new condominium towers planned for 106th Street and with all the residential towers under construction, each tower means another 500 people," Fraser said. "That's part of the vibrancy, is getting people in the downtown."

Poul Mark is owner of Transcend Coffee slotted to open nearby in June.

He says the arena's created a hotbed of activity.

"With the arena coming, we have condos popping up everywhere," Mark said. "There's a condo directly east to this building.  That's density and that's what we need."

Development is expected to continue for four or five years after the arena is complete in the fall of 2016, Fraser said.