Planned apartment appears stalled

231
Aug 2/16
Image courtesy of City of Yellowknife
This drawing shows what an apartment building planned for a vacant lot on School Draw Ave. at the foot of Tin Can Hill. It would hold, 26, one, two and three bedroom apartments. City council gave the green light to the developer on Tuesday night. He now has to go through the regulatory process before he can start to build

A developer who planned to build a three-story, 26 unit apartment building on School Draw Avenue has yet to buy the land.

Alberta-based developer Robert Findlay told Yellowknifer last August that in a perfect world he wanted to get construction underway before cold weather set in last winter.

No purchase agreement has been signed with the city for the 2,618 square metre property at the entrance to Tin Can Hill that remains listed for sale at $585,000.

“The property is still available for whoever comes – if we have a new purchaser, we will contact this one and let him know,” said Wenyan Yu, acting director of planning and development for the city.

Findlay, of Findlay Group Inc. in Calgary, is the son of a former Yellowknife mayor.

Findlay had been in contact with the city as recently as March to say he was still dealing with “internal procedures,” she stated in an e-mail April 13.

That broke several months of silence.

The Findlay Group website is no longer active. An e-mail, voicemail and Facebook message seeking an interview for this story were not returned.

In an interview in March before he made contact again, she said the city had last heard from him in December when he asked the city about potentially get a tax abatement on the property.

“I think he’s still considering the feasibility issue regarding this lot and he didn’t move forward because he asked if we can provide further abatement. We have standard signing terms and conditions so there’s no tax abatement on this,” Yu said.

In June last year he approached the city interesting in developing the property. Plans presented to councillors in August last year show a building constructed of shipping containers that Findlay said would be “lower-price-point” apartments.

He’s worked on affordable housing projects in the Calgary area in recent years, he told council in August.

The zoning for the site limited it to a 21 unit building, so Findlay came to council seeking approval for a zoning variance. That was granted in August. After the meeting, Findlay said he still had several steps to go before starting construction such as geo-technical and environmental reports about the land.

After the purchase, he’d seek a development permit.

In a perfect world, he told Yellowknifer, he wanted construction underway before the winter.

Neighbours raised concerns that the development would cause issues with parking and traffic.

The lot he sought to develop has been on the market since 2012. The city has received multiple expressions of interest however, due the financial and environmental challenges, no agreement has been reached.