Condo project draws interest

Duane Hicks

Whether or not the proposed La Verendrye Parkway Village condominium project goes ahead here will be determined in the next couple of weeks, but an open house last Thursday at the Civic Centre revealed some local residents at least are interested in finding out more.
“I have a genuine interest down the road,” said Fort Frances Fire Chief Gerry Armstrong, who attended the open house with his wife, Peggy.
“I wasn’t there with the fact I am prepared to sign up at this point, but certainly, for a little later in life, I have genuine interest in those types of facilities.
“I think they’re the best thing going,” Armstrong added.
“They’ve become quite popular in a lot of communities, for retired persons and so on, and they’ve become of real interest to me for when I am tired of cutting the grass,” he chuckled.
Armstrong said he thinks of the condo development as “something of value to this community,” and hopes it goes ahead.
“As almost every community has got now, we have an aging population,” he noted. “I fully support it; I think we need more of them.
“Obviously, it’s geared towards people with substantial pensions and that sort of thing, but for anybody that’s had decent planning throughout their career and their life, I think it’s a great idea,” Armstrong continued.
“It’s great for the community,” he stressed. “Those kinds of things will attract people to the community and I support them wholeheartedly.”
“I am interested, mainly because I am dissatisfied with the apartment that I live in, with the conditions there,” said one woman who chose to remain unidentified.
“I find the layouts for the floor plans look roomier than some of the ones I saw in the old condo building,” she noted. “I like the fact they’ve got the parking available and storage units on the same level as the garage.”
But she also has questions about noise from Front Street truck traffic, as well as how the condo management and maintenance will be handled.
Speaking more generally, the woman felt the proposed development would be beneficial to the community.
“More and more people, as our population ages, don’t have the ability to take care of their houses anymore, their yards anymore,” she remarked. “They still like the idea of owning property but would like less maintenance.”
As first reported in Friday’s Daily Bulletin, Thunder Bay developer Robert Zanette said he hopes to see at least 20 units pre-sold prior to June 15.
Zanette explained that as with previous projects he’s done, after deciding to go ahead with a new condo, he likes to have a 90-day window to get architects, engineers, and other key players in line before applying for a building permit.
“To keep it simple and stay on the timetable we’re on, let’s just say, by June 1 or June 15, we get the required sales in line,” Zanette noted during Thursday’s open house.
“We would then order up the drawings and be seeking a permit near the end of August or September.
“Generally, we allow 10 months, maybe 11 months if we have harsh winter conditions, so doing the math, you’re probably looking at occupancy around the end of August or September next year.
“It’s about a 10- to 11-month turnaround.”
If the condo proceeds, the development will be built on a riverfront lot located at Front Street and Mosher Avenue, to the east of the current Riverwalk Condominiums.
Schematics for four different suite designs were available for viewing at Thursday’s open house, showing two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from about 939 sq. ft. to 1,428 sq. ft.
Units have been costed at $189,900-$259,900.
A drawing of what the outside of the condominium would look like showed a large 23-unit building with a parking lot located on the west side.
Zanette was kept busy during the open house answering questions about the building as a whole, unit sizes and finishes, unit fees, condo fees, and taxes.
He said he’s willing to work with buyers to build the unit they want, but there are some limits, of course.
“There’s sort of three ‘do nots.’ Number one is when you look at a unit, let’s take a three-bedroom, 1,400 sq. ft. unit, the [load] bearing walls you can’t touch.
“The plumbing is all stacked and lines up one on top of the other, so you can’t touch that,” he added. “And the third item is any code-related issues.
“The example we use is somebody wanted a fireplace in a bedroom. Well, the gas code doesn’t allow fireplaces in bedrooms or that type of thing,” Zanette said.
“So, but for those three ‘do nots,’ we’ve pretty much done it all—from flooring and cabinets, people can pretty much select anything,” he continued. “We simply send them off to our builder and they work it out with the builder, and if there’s an up charge, they agree to it before any change is made, and away they go.
“We try to run a bit of a production line if we can and keep it simple, but it just doesn’t happen that way,” Zanette stressed.
“It’s a custom home, and we recognize that and work with the buyers.”
Those wanting more information about the new condo are encouraged to contact Re/Max broker Mario Tegola toll-free at 1-800-508-9976.