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Proposed seniors housing project back before Prince George city council

City council postponed a decision on a proposed 118-unit seniors housing project at the corner of Tyner and Ospika Boulevards last month to receive additional information.

A proposed 118-unit seniors housing complex at the corner of Ospika and Tyner Boulevards will be back before city council on Monday.

Vancouver-based developer The HUB Collection (1268628 BC Ltd) is making a second request to city council to allow a seniors housing complex to be built at 4500 Ospika Blvd. On Feb. 6, city council rejected changing a restrictive covenant on the land to allow the seniors housing project to move ahead.

On April 24, council postponed a decision on the project to allow the developer time to submit a feasibility study on the project, conducted by consulting firm CB Richard Ellis.

In the report dated Aug. 5,2022, consultants Paul Marsh and Anita Edralin concluded that the demand for independent supportive living units in Prince George was 2.47 times higher than the current supply, and is expected to grow by 27 per cent by 2032. They projected it would take between 20 to 28 months for the project to reach 95 per cent occupancy.

“The area is well served by public transit and benefits from extremely close proximity to complimentary retail amenities along Yellowhead Highway. Overall, the location is considered good for seniors housing & residential uses,” Marsh and Edralin wrote. “The building is expected to be of an upscale quality and design and is expected to be positioned at the top of its respective market in terms of overall quality.”

The City of Prince George sold the land to the developer in July 2020, on the condition the developer would build a 256-unit student housing complex on the 5.6-hectare lot within 24 months. City administration later changed the 24-month condition, and discharged the city’s option to purchase the land after the developer began pouring concrete for the foundation in April 2022, prior to stopping work of the project the following month.

In a rationale letter presented to city council on April 24, The HUB Collection managing partner Ashley de Grey Osborn said the proposed student housing project is no longer financially viable.

“It is completely uneconomical to build the original design for student housing, given the change in the reality we live since COVID and the war in Europe,” de Grey Osborn wrote. “Consequently, it is impossible to gain construction financing for a student housing project in Prince George.”