RiverBend Project Shows PG is “Open for Business”
l-r A&T Ventures’ Frank Quinn, MLA Mike Morris, MLA Shirley Bond, Mayor Lyn Hall and Oncore Seniors Society’s Garry Limpright-photo 250News
Prince George, B.C.- Construction of the new RiverBend Seniors housing project in Prince George is well underway, but it’s a project that almost didn’t happen.
The $33 million dollar project was first presented to Mayor and Council in 2013 “We didn’t get much traction at that time” says developer Frank Quinn of A&T Ventures. He says it wasn’t until Mayor Lyn Hall was elected that the wheels were set in motion.
“I had seen the project and I wanted to know if Frank was interested in doing this project here in Prince George” says Mayor Hall “and from there, we met, we went to Kamloops and took a look at their RiverBend operation there and the wheels started to move, it was a big job.” Mayor Hall says it was team effort on the part of the City’s development Services department and Council “It’s the only project of its kind north of Kamloops and I think that says a lot about what we’ve done.”
Hall and key members of the City Staff, arranged to meet with Quinn in Kamloops and laid out the possible benefits of developing such a project in P.G. Those benefits include: a ten year tax break, and just over $265 thousand dollars in development cost charges relief plus an affordable housing grant of $855 thousand.
The Province came to the table with $4 million dollars to buy 33 supportive units in the 173 unit development and financing of over $3.8 million to Oncore Seniors Society for the purchase of another 33 supportive units. The balance of the units (107) will be sold and 18 have already been spoken for. Quinn says that although the BC Housing component is less than 20% of the overall project, their involvement was critical “Their involvement is what makes the project viable, without their involvement, we couldn’t proceed.”
“This project comes at the perfect time for us” says Gwen Norheim. She and her husband are among those who have already purchased a unit and expect to move to their new condo in the fall of 2017. “We were at the point of knowing we would need to move, but didn’t want to move into any of the existing facilities in Prince George.” Norheim was a teacher at the Connaught Junior High School which was on the neighbouring property until it burned to the ground. “In all my years of teaching I never imagined I would be living in its backyard.” She is also pleased their little dog, a small poodle terrier mix, will be able to live with them.
Quinn says they did make an interesting discovery when they started construction, “The creek ran right through the property. Even though we had done our geo-tech work, we had no idea until we got into the ground how much of a challenge that was going to be for an excavation.” But he says their past experience in dealing with alpine construction and avalanche trenches gave them the know-how to deal with it.
“The city was spectacular to deal with ” says Quinn ” We deal with cities all over British Columbia and there’s no city like this when it comes to being open for business.”