A Prince George-based developer is looking to build a trio of rental apartment buildings in the Hart, near the intersection of Chief Lake Road and Sparwood Road.
The Sparwood Landing development would include three low-rise apartment buildings with 43 units per building, Kidd Real Estate Holdings president Bruce Kidd said. The buildings will be fully-accessible, and feature a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.
"There hasn't been a new apartment in the Hart in a long time. There has been new apartments in College Heights and the Bowl, but not the Hart," Kidd said. "We feel there are a lot of people who are looking for these kinds of suites, but want to stay in the Hart."
Kidd said his company has built a number of housing developments in the Hart area, with secondary suites included.
"The demand for those suites is astronomical," Kidd said. "We had a new owner, within a day he had 50 people who wanted to rent (his) suite."
Kidd's company will be going before city council in the coming weeks to seek a rezoning to allow the development on the roughly-triangular, 16-acre parcel of land located behind the existing homes on Chief Lake Road, Sparwood Road and Greenwood Street. Access to the apartments would be from a road connecting to Chief Lake and Sparwood roads.
In addition to the buildings, planned to be built out in three phases, the proposal includes two kilometres of trails, a public skating rink, pond, four-hole disc golf course, off-leash dog park, events area and community garden plots.
"Originally the city didn't support the plan of for building these apartments. They would support, townhouse though," Kidd said. "We could build 120 townhouses there and use up all that green space."
The proposed apartments would allow the same number of units, while still preserving some of the green space in the area.
If city council approves the rezoning, construction on the project could begin within a year or two, Kidd said. The site has already been cleared.
"We've just done some neighbourhood consultation, that just wrapped up today," Kidd said. "We're prepared to build the first one right away. There is just a few bits of infrastructure that needs to be done (first)."
The city has seen a surge of new rental apartment and apartment condo developments over the past two years, according to information released by the City of Prince George.
“Multi-family housing development is one of the greatest economic success stories Prince George has seen in recent years,” city manager of economic development Melissa Barcellos said. “It is gratifying that investors, businesses, and developers are continuing to recognize the potential of our city.”
The city issued permits for $52 million of new multi-family buildings in 2019 and a record $68 million in 2020. The value of building permits for multi-family developments in 2019 and 2020 was higher than the previous 18 years combined, according to data released by the City of Prince George.
More units of multi-family housing have been built in the city since 2018 than were built in the previous 12 years, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports.
“Multi-family construction is critical to the development of social infrastructure. The addition of new units to the housing supply helps to meet the need for housing, which serves to keep rent affordable,” said Chris Bone, senior manager of strategic initiatives and partnerships at the City of Prince George. “In addition, it complements the city’s efforts to ensure diverse housing options are available, from emergency shelters to housing in the marketplace.”