Condo project gets go-ahead

Organizers are breathing a sigh of relief as the tender for the River Walk condominium project finally was awarded Tuesday night.
The Fort Frances Non-Profit Housing Inc. board met twice Tuesday to discuss the fate of the condo project, finally determining that Penn-co Construction Corp. would be selected for the job.
The board accepted Penn-co’s bid of $390,000—a resolution later approved by town council at a special meeting that night.
Board chair Noreen Robertson thanked CAO Bill Naturkach and the town for their dedication to making the condo project a reality.
“The help given to the board is appreciated. We couldn’t have done it without you,” she remarked last night before council.
Mayor Glenn Witherspoon also gave kudos to those who made the project finally take flight.
“We’ve all talked about the aging population here. We are in a new millennium, and we’ll be getting older with it. This condo gives us something to look forward to,” he remarked.
But the decision went right down to the wire yesterday afternoon as the one buyer needed to keep the almost $5-million project afloat walked in with his cheque.
“He came in with the signed form and the cheque at 2 p.m.,” Naturkach said after one of the marathon meetings.
This week was do-or-die for the 32-unit complex earmarked for Front Street. The committee had been given until Monday to sign construction contracts with Penn-co.
Town council had delayed signing the contracts because it said it needed 75 percent of the 32 units pre-sold before moving ahead.
With only 19 of the 24 buyers found, organizers brokered a deal with Penn-co to have it be responsible for four of the unsold units, but still needed to find one more person to keep the project afloat.
“I was always optimistic,” Naturkach said wryly.
“I’m pleased. A whole lot of people are going to be pleased,” he said before making calls to each of the buyers to let them know the good news.
“The board is relieved. This is their homes, it’s an important part of their life,” Naturkach added.
There’s no word yet on when shovels will break ground on the development, what with numerous contracts and details to be dealt with first.
But residents should be able to move in Dec. 1.