Three buyers back away from condo units Move-in date delayed again

The number of units that remain to be sold at the River Walk condominium on Front Street has risen back up to 15 after some buyers opted not to go through with purchasing them.
“Recently, we’ve had three people at the table that have stepped down for various personal reasons,” said Fort Frances CAO Bill Naturkach, who also sits on the Fort Frances Non-profit Housing Committee as a town rep.
“But the rest of the buyers are really excited at moving in, picking out the carpets, and that sort of thing,” he added.
But they’ll be moving in a little later than expected, with Naturkach noting the occupancy date has been pushed back yet again—from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15.
Completion of the display unit and occupancy date previously had been set back to Dec. 20 from Dec. 1.
“I believe it’s all a matter of manpower,” Naturkach said of the delay, adding Penn-co Construction Canada Ltd., the contractor on the condo project, doesn’t have as many skilled tradespeople on site now.
They’ve told us they’re having a difficult time finding the right workers for the job,” he said, noting the labour shortage for construction is a problem across the area this year.
Other factors for the delays have included a number of changes being made to each individualized suites, colder-than-normal temperatures, and the flooding in late spring.
“In general, we’ve found the unit owners to prefer the job be done right and not rushed,” said Naturkach.
He added the contractor and committee have been aware of different buyers’ situations (whether they’re buying to own, renting out to others, or moving here from afar) and are willing to arrange for alternative accommodations for those who may been intending to move in before Jan. 15.
Meanwhile, Naturkach said the Fort Frances Non-profit Housing Committee remains hopeful the 15 remaining units will sell when the condo finally is ready for occupancy—or even before that.
“There has been no new sales. But the local [real estate] brokers have gotten some interest from people, and we’ve been getting calls for details,” he said.
“We’ve had a few [people interested],” confirmed Dan Cousineau of Cousineau Brokers here. “We’ve had some people come into town to take a look at them.
“I think it’s going to be easier to push [the condo units] when it’s built,” he added. “They keep on pushing the occupancy date back, but that’s pretty common on a project like this.
“It’s hard to pinpoint a completion date when you start from nothing.
“But I think there will be a real demand for them when once people move in,” he added. “When the riverfront work is completed, it will be the place to be.”
Back in March, town council previously had stated it would not begin construction of the nearly $5-million, 32-unit complex unless 75 percent of the condos (24) were pre-sold.
But with just 19 buyers signed on, the housing committee made a deal with Penn-co to take over responsibility for four of those units—leaving just one buyer needed to move into the construction phase.
At the last minute, the 20th buyer walked in with a deposit on April 3. Later that day, council agreed to go ahead with hiring Penn-Co.
In related news, Naturkach said the committee is looking at management to take over running the condominium once it’s occupied. There should some appointments in the New Year.
The committee’s next meeting is Dec. 11.

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