Development projects left dormant for years have jumped back to life since LNG’s final investment decision was finalized in October.
Several development projects skidded to a halt after LNG Canada delayed their decision on the $40 billion dollar Kitimat project in 2016. That has since changed, and investors are now brushing off the cobwebs and submitting preliminary plans and development applications for residential subdivision and development.
A few new property buys aimed at enhancing housing options in Terrace are also in the works.
“There is certainty now that there wasn’t then, and that seems to be the difference,” says city planner David Block.
Block says there has also been a spike in the number of small subdivision applications from three or four property owners who own small lots in the horseshoe or on the south side of the city.
This allows for the construction of additional units on the same lot, or the division of existing homes into multiple units to create residential space.
Close to 200 family homes will be built between five projects over the next couple of years, but real estate agents in Terrace say higher inventory levels may be needed sooner to meet buyer demand.
“It depends on what happens come springtime,” says Sheila Love, REMAX managing broker for Terrace and Kitimat. “If it looks like we’re going to have a surge of people coming to Terrace and the northwest then it could be tight for homes.”
Activity has slowed since the LNG announcement in October and a few more homes have been listed in Terrace since, Love says, but inventory levels for single-family and multi-family homes are still low.
“We anticipate that we’re going to need them for sure,” says Love.
Subdivision on Mountain Vista Dr.
The 25.1-acre property at 5350 Mountain Vista Dr. south of Coast Mountain College may be purchased by investors from the Lower Mainland for development.
“That’s one I haven’t seen close a sale, but they called and said they were buying it, and they intend to go forward with subdivisions,” says David Block, Terrace city planner.
The current owners, MFC Enterprises Ltd. started on the subdivision project a few years ago in terms of lot layout and street planning. An amendment to the provincially-legislated land use contract was issued in 2014 to zone portions of the property as R5, high density multi-family residential, and R2, single-family residential.
Townhouse development on McConnell
On the bench, Vancouver developer SwissReal Group is tendering for the next phase of their proposed 35-unit family townhouse development on the 5100 block of McConnell Avenue. Phase one of the project is complete, with seven units built so far.
Jeremy Towning, SwissReal manager, says all seven units built so far have been sold, with a three-person bidding war on the last available unit, each valued at $400,000 or more.
He says the company is looking at establishing a long-term presence in Terrace.
“We love the place, we think it’s a beautiful area and we plan on building there for the next 25 years. We’re not going anywhere.”
The company plans to start construction on the remaining 28 units in early 2019, with an expected completion date before 2020.
Block says SwissReal has also indicated they’re looking to purchase the property on Thomas Street by Uplands Elementary and the larger property just west of that off of Halliwell Avenue.
While they can’t confirm what other locations they are looking at in Terrace, Towning says they are interested in building an industrial strata for retail, light industrial or manufacturing companies in the area.
He says SwissReal is also considering purchasing property for a potential walk-up apartment building.
Residential townhouse, commercial on Lanfear Hill
Vancouver developer Kenneth Kim Architecture Inc. has sent preliminary plans for a phase strata townhouse project on 3725 Thomas St., a development similar to SwissReal’s proposal.
The developer purchased the 5.28 acres on top of Lanfear Hill back in 2014.
The property is split into two residential sites with 70-75 units between them, with plans to develop one small neighbourhood commercial site.
“There’s really no small scale or large scale commercial there, so if the residents need something small they need to drive all the way down the hill,” says Kenneth Kim, architect. “We wanted to provide some space where neighbourhood commercial retail activity can take place.”
Kim says market demand and the positive financial decision for LNG spurred the residential development to move forward after years of inactivity.
The developer is now waiting on clearance from the city and a geotechnical review of Lanfear Hill before they can formally submit an application.
Duplexes on Halliwell, single-family homes on Cory
Another bench property owned by local builder Lyle Salekin of CDG Custom Contracting has submitted preliminary proposals for their project on 4921 Halliwell Avenue, adjacent to Uplands Elementary.
Spanning less than one-hectare, the property was rezoned three years ago to R3 (low-density multi-family residential) with the intent to build 12 duplexes containing 24 total units, though no development application has been received yet.
CDG Custom Contracting’s subdivision project on the northern half of Cory Drive is ongoing with 23 single-family homes.
“We’re the only builder that didn’t stop when everyone else stopped three years ago,” Salekin says.
Fourteen single-family homes have been built so far with nine single-family homes currently under construction.
All but one of the homes have sold, each valued between $450,000 to $650,000.
“Three weeks before the [LNG] announcement we saw a considerable amount of activity.”
Salekin estimates construction on Cory Drive should be complete by spring 2019.
45-home subdivision on Graham
The city has received a development application for phase one of the 45-home subdivision proposed at 4645 Graham Avenue, owned by Rod Pelletier of N.C. Properties Inc.
The northern parcel is a long, thin lot that shares its eastern boundary with the Terrace Trailer Court. In 2016 council approved the 1.6-hectare section to be rezoned from agricultural to multi-family low-density residential.
On Nov. 26, council passed the first and second readings of a rezoning amendment that would allow for single-unit family homes to be built within the subdivision.