Developers and city hall staff held a brief ceremony on Monday afternoon to officially break ground on the Park House condominium development at the base of Connaught Hill.
Representatives from A&T Project Developments, the main developer of Park House, gathered with city staff, members of council and Mayor Lyn Hall on the corner of Queensway and George Street. Frank Quinn, Partner of A&T Project Developments, and Hall both spoke about the impact the project will have on on the city's downtown. The development is expected to bring a sizeable population of professional residents into the downtown core.
The Park House development will include 153 units of one and two-bedroom housing in four separate buildings. Once completed, the project will also include a private gym, sauna and steam room, an outdoor BBQ area, a yoga platform and a fire pit.
"They're going to be first-class residential units built as condominiums and there's going to be rental purpose buildings as well," Quinn said.
"The leadership that has been shown by the city of Prince George through your mayor, your council and your administration is really unique to anywhere else we do business. We wouldn't be here but for that leadership."
City hall approved the four building complex last December. Included in the project plan was a 288-stall underground parkade as well as 64 surface parking stalls. The city agreed to reserve 133 of these underground parking stalls for condo residents at a discounted rate for 50 years.
The project is expected to contribute $40 million in municipal taxes over the course of the city's 50-year partnership, and to create 308 direct jobs during construction.
Hall said the Park House development fit into a pattern of large-scale development projects that have either been completed recently or whose construction is currently underway in downtown Prince George. These include the planned replacement of the Four Seasons pool, the construction of the new Courtyard Marriott Hotel, and the recently opened UNBC Wood Innovation Research Laboratory
"In any downtown, in any community in the province, you always talk about residential living, you need that component to drive everything else downtown. For me, this is the last piece of the puzzle," said Mayor Lyn Hall.
"It's going to drive people to come downtown, it's really going to substantiate what we're doing down here and it will really secure a vibrant downtown."
Once completed, Quinn said the residential development would attract a mix of millennials, seniors and professionals who work in the downtown core.
"We're sensing that there's a large number of people who are working downtown but can't live downtown but would like to walk to work and would like to have access to Connaught Park," he said.
Developers expect to see the first residents move in during the summer of 2020. A sales centre for the condo development will open this summer inside the Ramada Prince George.