Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/5/2018 (763 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The developer of Winnipeg’s beleaguered SkyCity Centre has announced it will be sending out refunds to buyers who put down deposits of 10 per cent on condo units, admitting it isn’t feasible to move forward with construction.
The news comes two days after a class-action lawsuit was filed against Fortress Real Developments, the company behind the project at Smith Street and Graham Avenue, in Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of disgruntled buyers seeking the return of their deposits and other unspecified damages.
Richard Olschewski, the lawyer representing buyers involved in the lawsuit, said it’s clear Fortress’s decision was in response to legal pressure.
"I really believe that if we didn’t file the lawsuit, it would have just been more of the same, more delay. I think they would have held out in the hopes they could pull a rabbit out of their hat. But this is what (my clients wanted). This is an obvious solution," he said.
Olschewski said all buyers were notified by email Thursday morning that their deposits would be returned. He was informed by his clients a short time later.
The proposed development was marketed as a "beacon of change" for the city when it was first announced in 2013. Had things gone forward as planned, the $200-million, 45-storey tower would have become Winnipeg’s tallest at the time.
Developers said the mixed-use development, called a "vertical village," would set the standard in "luxury living and urban lifestyle." However, it has been plagued by problems from the start, with construction consistently delayed.
Olschewski said he expects buyers to be fully refunded within a week or two, adding it wasn’t just his clients involved in the lawsuit that will be getting refunds, but all buyers. He said there will be no reason to move forward with the lawsuit once the deposits are returned.
"Without a doubt, without a doubt this had to do with the lawsuit. Just look at the timing. I can’t imagine they would have been doing this without the lawsuit. But now that the buyers will be getting what they wanted, I can’t imagine there would be able reason to move forward on this," Olschewski said.
Fortress, which is headquartered in Richmond Hill, Ont., did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @rk_thorpe
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.
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.