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Developer fretting over city fees

Molson Street project could be affected

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A sign advertises the first phase of the Red Oak Condos. Developer Karl Devlin of Carrington Homes says City of Winnipeg fees for street improvements may affect the planned second phase.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

A sign advertises the first phase of the Red Oak Condos. Developer Karl Devlin of Carrington Homes says City of Winnipeg fees for street improvements may affect the planned second phase. Photo Store

An East St. Paul-based developer said City of Winnipeg fees will negatively affect his projects.

Karl Devlin, who runs Carrington Homes with wife Carla, applied for a variance to build two multi-family lots on the east side of Molson Street just north of Grassie Boulevard at East Kildonan — Transcona Community Committee on July 16.

The proposed project is the second phase of the Carrington development on the site, and will consist of an eight-unit building and a four-unit building. In the first phase, Devlin estimated he paid approximately $75,000 in fees to the city when building the project’s first phase of 16 luxury condos, called Red Oak Condos, which is set to be completed this fall.

The committee re-evaluated its decision after the meeting, reducing the fees by about $17,000, but Devlin expects to pay approximately $50,000 in city fees as he completes the second phase. The final decision on the fees ultimately fell to committee chair Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) as the development is in his area of the city.

Devlin wonders what the cash will pay for, noting the roundabout at Molson and Grassie as well as other parts of the area’s infrastructure, like lighting and sidewalks, are brand-new. He’s worried his contributions will sit in city coffers for years until repairs are necessary.

"I don’t think it was a fair decision. I think the councillor’s hands are tied — I think it’s policy that (Steen is) adhering to," Devlin said. "In this particular situation, I think they could have looked at it a little more leniently."

Devlin said he has already slightly lowered the asking prices for the condominiums in the second phase, and fears that because of the extra fees, features like the quartz countertops, wood cabinets, and hardwood flooring found in the phase-one units might not be offered in the second phase.

"More than likely, we will proceed, but there’s a price point that people are willing to pay for this location and for this project," he said. "We may have to reduce some of the finishing."

Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood – East Kildonan) said consistency came into his decision, as the developers of the old Schriemer’s Greenhouse site are required to pay similar fees. As well, he’d prefer to have money available for repairs rather than have to scramble to find some when needed, pointing to issues felt by those living just south of Grassie.

"I gave him extra costs on the streets because I didn’t want it to become a new Eaglemere, where they have to fight for the streets (to be repaired) for 20 years," Steen said.

Steen added the cash will be used quickly, as plans to improve Molson between Kimberly Avenue and Grassie are in development.

"It’s still the old highway (Highway 59) under there. We need to improve the drainage," Steen said, noting it’s a haven for mosquitoes. "Hopefully we get that done sooner rather than later."

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