City council has approved a partnership deal with A&T Development that paves the way for a 151-unit condominium and parkade development downtown.
Council unanimously endorsed the deal which would see a city parking facility below the condominiums that would provide nearly 290 new underground parking stalls downtown, with an additional 64 surface parking spaces. The proposal includes a provision that 133 of the new underground parking spaces would be reserved for condominium residents at a reduced rate. The value of the city assistance to be provided during the 50-year term of the agreement is estimated at $94,914 per year.
“Council entered into this agreement with A&T because we recognize the critical importance of having people living downtown not only to support local business, but to create a sense of ownership and an inviting atmosphere for all residents in the area, whether they live downtown or are visiting,” said Mayor Lyn Hall. “It is gratifying to note that A&T recognizes the significant progress made both by the city and the downtown business community in making the downtown ready for a milestone development like this. Council would like to thank A&T for taking on this venture, and our local businesses for their continuing investment and hard work downtown.”
The roughly $37 million project will consist of a 151-unit condominium development that would be built over four phases on the vacant land between City Hall and Queensway Street, north of Connaught Hill. The city estimates that the project would result in about 630 jobs directly or indirectly related to the development.
“This is an absolute game-changer, not only for downtown, but for our city,” said Hall. “Every year before elections, the comment is ‘what are you going to do about downtown?’ This council is absolutely doing something about downtown.”
He pointed to the successful referendum approving the replacement of the Four Seasons Pool as another big change coming in the downtown area.
“We are thrilled and excited to be part of this milestone project and look forward to building an amazing community that everyone can be proud of,” said Gary Reed, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, with A&T Project Developments.
The city has sought to attract a large market housing project to the downtown for decades. Numerous discussions have taken place with developers, investors, and builders, but success has been elusive.
A&T will be eligible to benefit from the Downtown Incentives Program, which provides financial incentives to multi-family residential developments that aim to bring housing to the city centre. The project is also eligible for the City’s Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Program and after that expires, Ian Wells, director of planning and development, told council the city will collect about $40 million in taxes from the development over the next 50 years. Wells added the city does not expect any increase in taxation.
“This is the best investment announcement coming to our city,” said Coun. Albert Koehler. “To be honest, I’m excited to see it happening.”
He added it certainly helps with the revitalization downtown.
“I’m ecstatic,” added Coun. Terri McConnachie. “I can’t wait to see the first shovel hit the ground.”
Coun. Frank Everitt said he was excited about the project as well, noting that talk about downtown development has been going on for many years.
“For us to get to this point is excellent,” he said. “This is one of the steps that we’ve all been looking for and waiting for.”
He added that A&T, which built Riverbend Seniors Community, has a proven track record in the community.
Construction is expected to begin on the project next year.