Pre-sales are planned to begin this April for the largest condominium project to be built in Powell River in decades.
Pacific Point Condos, on the corner of Joyce Avenue and Highway 101, was given final approval by City of Powell River council at its regular meeting on March 1 when a zoning bylaw was amended to allow for the multi-unit project to be built.
One of the principal owners, local businessman Tod English, said it has taken time for prices to come in line for it to make sense for a developer to build something new on this scale.
“We're due for some larger projects,” said English. “In the big world this isn't very large, but for Powell River it is, and we're excited to do it.”
One factor driving market demand for condos is the plans of cannabis producer Santè Veritas Therapeutics. The company requires quality housing, according to city director of planning services Thomas Knight.
“I don't think they really see that there's a lot of that available,” said Knight. “I understand that Santè Veritas has been approaching some of the developers to see about them getting up and running so they'll have product for their staff once it's available.”
English said overall growth of the workforce in the region, including Santè Veritas and the influx of skilled trades people, is generating market demand for an almost non-existent condo inventory.
“We need four or five of these projects going at the same time to make a real big difference,” said English. “The inventory is low here, so fortunately we should be in a good position to sell these, but I encourage other developers. You can feel it. We're going to have a great spring and summer.”
When completed, the units will not be available for short-term rental through online platforms such as Airbnb.
“We put a covenant on the property that eliminates the use of nightly rentals on that particular property,” said English. “If I'm spending $600,000, I don't want Airbnb in my building. At the end of the day it was a move we embraced.”
Beginning with the pre-sell campaign, English said the developers want to begin construction as soon as possible on the 23 residential units, which will range in size from 900 to 2,000 square feet, and three retail units. The project will employ 25 to 30 people for approximately 12 to 15 months.
The goal is to have occupancy in 2019.
Councillor and chair of the city’s planning committee Rob Southcott said he was “delighted” about the development, and that it will be a boost for the economy and housing in Powell River.
“My strongest personal reason for supporting the development is that it makes Grief Point into more of a neighbourhood,” said Southcott. “This is something that, in my view, Westview lacks but the other smaller communities in Powell River have.”