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New condominium complex changes landscape near Exhibition Park

Four-storey, 40-unit structure part of Hayer Construction's 116-unit Framework 22 housing project

When people converge on the fairgrounds next week to take in the B.C. Northern Exhibition, they’ll notice a large blue building southwest of Exhibition Park that wasn’t there last year.

That huge four-storey structure will soon be home to hundreds of Prince George residents.

The 40-unit condominium complex is part of the Framework 22 development taking shape at the west end of 22nd Avenue. Built by Hayer Construction, it’s one of several multi-family housing developments that are changing the face of Prince George.

The Framework 22 project also includes four 10-unit strata townhouses and a six-unite townhouse structure soon to be built at the site. The mixed-use housing includes townhouses and condominium units.

“We’ll have 116 units in that whole complex when it’s done,” said Hayer Construction president Robin Hayer.

“It’s a great central area. People love this area for what it has to offer for convenience and also Mother Nature that surrounds it. That’s why infill projects like this are ideal, because it’s an established neighbourhood that people are comfortable with and that makes it more appealing, especially for an aging population that wants to be close to amenities.

“The nice thing is you’re tucked away from any busy street. It’s a beautiful view from the top of that apartment building.”

Among the nearby attractions in close walking distance are Ginter’s Field nature park, CN Centre, Kin Centre arenas, Exhibition Park ice oval, Prince George Aquatic Centre and the proposed site of a multi-use park to be built near the 22nd Avenue-Ospika Boulevard intersection.

Hayer said the 40-unit complex – a $10 million project on its own - should be finished some time early in the new year. Two- and three-bedroom units are now selling. Prices range from $385,000 to $430,000 each.

Frameworks 22 is geared towards new and existing homeowners who want the roomy living space of a free-standing house but don’t want to be tied to extensive yard maintenance work.

“With the way the land price of building has gone up in the last two years, it’s actually a combination of first-time buyers, down-sizers and also people who don’t want to be stuck with a home that they have such a high mortgage on,” said Hayer. “They would rather prefer to travel and do what’s on their bucket list than invest in such an expensive house in other areas.

“People now want to enjoy their summers and in wintertime just lock up and go and that seems to be appealing to a lot of people.”

According to a Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report released last month, housing starts in the province are not keeping pace with population growth and shortages are keeping prices high, reducing affordability. The average price of a house in Prince George at the end of June was $529,729, up nearly $74,000 from June 2021.

In May and June, the city issued building permits for 18 new single-family homes, two new multi-family developments and four new mobile homes. During the first six months of the year, permits were approved for 52 new single-family homes (down from 61 over the same period in 2021), 10 new mobile homes (down by one from January to June 2021), five new duplexes (down from seven in January to June 2021) and 12 new multi-family developments (down from 28 in the same period of 2021).

“Especially for the rental market, we are undersupplied, but even for new residential living we need that affordability for people to have the option of living in a stratified unit that’s brand new,” said Hayer.

“I saw the article in the (Citizen) paper last month that we still need another 10,000 rental units by 2031 and I see outside investment for the rental business and I don’t see it slowing down. I do know of some multi-family sites that have sold and I project we’ll have more multi-family housing (construction) continuing on for many years here.”