The development of three condominium buildings totaling 174 units was given the go-ahead on Monday, with city council giving the project unanimous support.
The three buildings will be built at 1603 First St. E. and developed by Edmonton-based Skyrider Developments — the same company that is currently developing a 194-unit condominium project at the intersection of 15th Street East and 15th Avenue East.
Although Mayor Jim Scarrow noted that the project will generate significant income for the city, the condominiums came with some concerns.
Residents Al and Lucy Knorr, who live near the site of the upcoming condominiums, asked a few questions about the project during Monday’s city council meeting.
“Is that going to be low rental, because that brings property value down and we’re not interested in bringing our property value down,” Lucy said.
“All the neighbours are wondering that, too. What is happening?” Al asked.
Responding to these and other concerns, Skyrider Developments president and owner Derek Prue stepped up to the podium.
“They’re going to be fully condominiumized, so they all will be individually titled,” Prue explained.
“At this point, we don’t think we’ll restrict owners from renting (out) their apartments if they want to, so we can’t say unequivocally that there will be no apartments there used as rental.”
Should condo owners opt to rent their units, upon purchase they sign an agreement that requires them to go through an in-house property management team.
“We expect it’ll be mostly homeowners that own and live there, but we also find the fact that because they are owned units, if they are rented out they are maintained and they keep a little closer eye on them,” Prue said.
Coun. Lee Atkinson then brought up several concerns around added traffic volume to the area.
“We don‘t have any kind of prohibition on having these kind of developments on roadways that aren’t arterial,” the city’s director of public works Colin Innes said.
Coun. Ted Zurakowski noted that the added tax base will provide funds to solve any problems that may arise.
“These are 174 new units in our community, which is a community that still struggles to find housing … Thank you for what you’re doing,” he told the developers.
Although city planner Yves Richard pointed out that the 500-year flood event elevation has yet to be instated in the city, the developer took these into account while drafting their plans.
The provincial government is currently pushing for Prince Albert to instate a 500-year flood event elevation, which would include large portions of the city, of which the approved condomium units are included within.
The city currently employs a 100-year flood event elevation.
Should the 500-year flood event elevation become adopted by the city, development of some areas may cease and new flood regulations would be instated.
“The developer has established a safe building elevation for the apartment buildings’ main floor, at 426.5 metres above sea level,” a city report by planner Wes Holowachuk reads.
“Saskatchewan Watershed Authority has reviewed the subject property and has established the 1:500-year flood elevation at 425.6 metres above sea level.”
As such, the buildings’ main floors will be almost one metre above the 500-year flood event elevation.