Harry Satdeo seeks GNWT loan to repair fire-damaged highrise

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The damage to the Mackenzie Place highrise from a March 15 fire on the 11th floor is apparent from the outside of the building. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
The damage to the Mackenzie Place highrise from a March 15 fire on the 11th floor is apparent from the outside of the building.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Harry Satdeo – owner of the fire-damaged Mackenzie Place highrise – is still not sure how he will pay to repair the building.

“I’m hoping to win the lottery,” he said in an April 18 telephone interview with The Hub.

Satdeo said that, while he doesn’t yet know how he will pay to repair the 16-storey building, he is looking for a loan.

As for the possibility of government assistance, he said, “I hope they will give me a loan.”

Satdeo’s company, Satdeo Inc., had no insurance on Mackenzie Place.

It was damaged in a March 15 fire on the 11th floor that has since left the building devoid of tenants. About 125 people have been displaced.

Satdeo is hoping to reopen the building, starting with the upper floors.

“We’re hoping to have the 14th floor to the 17th floor open by June 1st,” he said.

There is a 17th floor in the 16-storey building because there is no 13th floor.

Aside from the fire in an 11th-floor apartment on the north side of the building, much of the damage was to the floors below caused by water from the firefighting effort.

Satdeo said an environmental specialist is expected from Edmonton this week to evaluate the situation.

“We’re still planning on opening by June 1, but we have to make sure that the entire building is safe before we have anyone in there,” he said.

The assessment will include asbestos and mould.

Satdeo noted he had a meeting by telephone on April 17 with the NWT Fire Marshal and regulatory bodies in the NWT.

The owner of Mackenzie Place said some repairs have already been made to the building, including getting the fire alarm system working after it had been knocked out by water damage.

“So we have a few things done,” he said. “But before we could do any work we have to get a report as to the environmental standard in the building.”

Satdeo, who resides in Florida, was asked for his reaction to criticism of his absence from Hay River since the fire, including notably from Hay River South MLA and cabinet minister Wally Schumann.

“I wouldn’t comment on those things,” he said.

As for the negative reactions to Satdeo Inc.’s request that tenants “square up their dues” for rent owed, as requested in an April 3 ad in The Hub, Satdeo noted, “Well, there’s $100,000 owing to Satdeo Inc. for past rent.”

That would help pay for repairs, he added.

The ‘Notice to Tenants’ ad on April 3 also informed them that they can terminate their leases by giving written notice.

Satdeo had a bit of news for the displaced tenants.

“We’re planning on returning their damage deposits and part of their rent as of (this) week,” he said.

Satdeo, who was speaking from Manitoba, also said he is still planning on coming to Hay River, although he had no date set.

“Probably by the end of the month, for sure,” he said.

Satdeo has received no information from the RCMP on a possible cause of the fire.

Last week, a spokesperson for the RCMP told The Hub there was nothing to report about its ongoing investigation.

The NWT Fire Marshal previously ordered Mackenzie Place to be closed to the public as a result of the fire with some exceptions, such as tenants entering at controlled times to recover their belongings and workers entering to undertake repairs.

Mackenzie Place has about 130 apartments, and 83 of them were rented at the time of the fire.

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