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This article was published 20/2/2018 (1112 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Developers of a proposed seven-storey, 104-unit residential complex near the University of Manitoba hope their project will not only bring value to the community, but also play a role in helping address the neighbourhood’s illegal rooming-house problem.
"We actually didn’t realize the extent of the rooming-house problem in the area. There are quite a lot of (illegal) rooming houses in the neighbourhoods surrounding the university. We are hoping to be, that our project will be, part of the solution to the problem," Paragon Design Build’s Nigel Furgus said.
"Number one is that it is a safety issue, but it also causes other problems within the neighbourhood. So, we hope by providing legal, high-quality, apartment-style living that we’ll be able to help address this issue and bring something positive into this established neighbourhood."
Furgus, along with Joel Rodrigues of JR Holdings, are behind the proposed apartment complex. Should the city give the project the green light, it is set to be built at 30 University Cres.
This past month, the pair hosted an open house at a community centre on the 600 block of Silverstone Avenue, so area residents could come out, get information and express potential concerns.
Roughly 50 people, including Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert), came to the open house, Furgus said.
"It was a lot of area residents that came through. Other architects and developers for projects in the vicinity came out as well. Feedback, for the most part, was very positive. A lot of residents told us they thought this was great. We want to bring a real quality project to the area," Furgus said.
"Some people had bus-capacity concerns, some others (had) traffic concerns. I think we were able to address those. A lot of people complimented the aesthetics of the building, which is something we spent a lot of time working on."
The complex, which will have 63 one-bedroom units and 41 two-bedroom units, will not only cater to university students, but also empty-nesters in the area looking to downsize.
The units will range in size between 600 and 1,000 square feet, and the complex will feature underground parking and two rooftop terraces — the latter being a feature the developers feel makes the project unique in the city.
The site of the proposed development is currently occupied by three single-family homes that aren’t in the best shape, Furgus said. The developers are asking the city to rezone those properties, so the project can take the next step forward.
"We’ve submitted our reports to the city. We’re still waiting on permits and on the rezoning process. After the open-house public consultation, we submitted our zoning application, and building permit as well. Now, we’re waiting for the city to give us its feedback on our proposal," Furgus said.
"It can take three to six months. Nothing is ever a guarantee, but we feel confident we’ll be able to move forward and we’re hoping to start the development in the fall."
However, before that can take place, all variances, rezoning, subdivisions and building plans will have to be given the green light by the city.
The proposed complex isn’t the only area development currently in the works.
In October, the Riel Community Committee approved plans for a 32-unit complex on the 100 block of University Crescent.
Back in February, a 197-unit complex on the 2000 block of Pembina Highway was also given the go-ahead.
"These apartments that are being built aren’t just for the students, but also many homeowners looking to downsize. These will allow them to stay in the neighbourhood, or help out graduate students having a hard time finding a place to stay," Lukes said.
"There was an open house (for 30 University Cres.). We listened to people who came out and spoke at it. We’ll have a public hearing on it for the rezoning. From everything I’ve observed, this building is a fit for the area. I think it will serve the neighbourhood well."
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Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.