Nelson now has 3 major condo-developments in the works - about 90 units total - in various stages of support by City Council. Seemingly the developers see something we underdeveloped don't: a market for them.
Slogan: New Future. This slogan/name alone should be a warning - it isn't. Careless determination of the developer's financial ability by an inept thus promptly stubborn Council/Staff moves the project along for an exasperating while - fortunately said ability crashes even for Council to hear and making the project fall off the map.
And a good thing too - with its height ever higher, a large section of the lake just given away and Council spitefully digging-in: there is a substantial outcry against it all - including Council - by the public.
Its current status - rezoning, variances and all that - is unknown to us. And even though this misadventure should have alerted City Hall to finally locking-in definitive long-longed-for rules for the waterfront: this still hasn't happened - the Sustainable Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan is that in name only.
Have they learned from the experience as a whole? It seems not - see below.
No matter what the spin: this project - ostensibly coming from currently much bandied-about density/mixed-use wonderfulness of real cities - actually is generated by sudden panic over having to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible to pay off the way-too-large property the Kootenay Co-op buys in the delirious swoon of an ego-centric few at the top. And condos above the store seem the quick fix. While hardly co-oppy! A Dr. Faustus bargain.
The City - shades of Kutenai Landing, eager to give the shop away again - is so ready for this one: City Planning prepares the ground literally for a far-ranging parking-variance even before it is applied for. Planned with considerable time and focus: not according to a Nelson need but to save Nelson Commons money - at the expense of the Nelson taxpayer. And then approved unquestioned in one of Council's predigested rituals.
In an attempt to put a face on a bad situation Villa Kelowna is born: remarkable only for its unimaginatively conservative - but soothing to many - appearance in what should be the vibrant heart of Nelson. Marketed as a place for those who want to down-size: including on children, not mentioned in sales pitches.
Much has been written about the project - bottom-line now: with lack of enough firm commitment from buyers, an actual physical go-ahead has been moved back and back. Bleeding major member-money in the process. With you there because you're already there there not a certainty any longer.
Storm Mountain Development is advertising 8 townhouses within a $400.000 range, between 1.324 and 1.389 square-feet.
Vague images of front/back have an insubstantial southern vacation-rental feel - so how can you be sure of getting on with the neighbors and their children in your face/ears and what if you can't then what! For that price.
Commencement of construction is subject to preselling 6 townhouses and is expected to start in June 2014, with completion in six to eight months.
Nelson Star, 24 Jan, 2014
The pattern is the same as that of Nelson Commons: they need firm commitments - money changing hands! - before the banks will step in. And that this very minute - as they want to start construction in a month or so! Their confidence knowing no bounds: with demand they are willing/ready to start constructing even more units now.
The dizzying speed with which this developer expects the project to move forward demonstrates the slow learning-curve of his market-perception.
The Crossing at Granite Pointe
West Creek Developments are planning 24 to 30 (a substantial difference) condos in 3 buildings on 1.3 acres. Density in a city is one thing - density of a large group of strangers in woodsy-quiet isolation is another. Plus - at least in amateurish and ugly renderings - the project as a whole is an eyesore. In terms of aesthetics and livability - the least desirable of the 3 developments.
After an area-resident expresses worries about children possibly not safe any longer running around freely in added Crossing traffic - Councillor Batyckie makes an unfortunate quip about keeping them yarded. Not amusing anyone. And there will be no yards at The Crossings either! While the development accepts the possibility of families.
Sizes of condos range from 800 over 1.500 to 1.600 square-feet - all to be under $300.000. Like where exactly? Extras? 16 hundred square-feet make a condo here larger than a whole townhouse at Nelson Landing - that going for about 400-or-so grand.
How many units need to be sold before the big money has not been made public.
"This particular builder has found a niche that he seems to be able to work in quite well," Mayor Dooley said, noting the dwellings would be priced less than $300.000. "All their units are well positions (sic) to be sold and get people into the entry level market."
Sam Van Schie, Nelson Star, 12 Mar, 2014
The sales-pitch here seems to be entry-level/starter-homes, yet usually those are fixer-uppers to eventually be flipped for a next bigger/better one - not unattractive live-in condos with not much value-appreciation in sight.
Then there's the starter-home/golfing dichotomy.
The golf course would benefit from the development because residents living so close to the green would likely buy memberships.
Sam Van Schie, Nelson Star, 8 Jan, 2014
Would those in a "starter-attitude" condo buy memberships - at what price/fees?- like are they golfers with all the time in the world and the very expensive gear?
While - at the same time - anyone who lived here (sic) would probably want to golf more, according to Peter Muirhead, liaison between club and developer. But then he continues with The golf industry has changed - the younger generation aren't really joiners - we need to find different ways to maintain our membership numbers.
Golf more? Clearly - he is after an older, more affluent, possibly more demanding crowd. Will their demands be met in these condos?
Whatever - who's the target-buyer here?
These 3 developments run concurrently must severely limit chances of any one of them actually ever happening: look at Nelson Commons even while still having the market to itself.
All not only lack market-awareness but also a reality-based vision of themselves. Making them flawed - possibly fatally so.
1. Kootenay Country Store Co-operative - Nelson Commons
2, 3 Nelson Star/Storm Mountain Development - Nelson Landing
4, 5 Nelson Star/West Creek Development - The Crossing at Granite Pointe