By Collin Gallant on May 11, 2018.
The ground has been broken on a 143-unit apartment complex in the neighbourhood of Southlands — marking the start of another major construction project in southern Medicine Hat.
Pilings are already going in the ground at the site, located at 280 Southland Boulevard, just behind a new Medicine Hat Catholic Board school and near the recently opened Masterpiece retirement facility.
It’s also within walking distance of three new multi-storey hotel projects that will get underway this year.
“It’s very encouraging,” said city planning general manager Kent Snyder shortly after the monthly permit numbers for April were presented to the planning commission on Wednesday.
“We had predicted a year similar to last year in terms of activity,” Snyder added. “We could do better than that.”
The apartment block, to be known as Southlands Green, is being built by Seymour Pacific Developments, the construction wing of Campbell River, B.C. firm Broadstreet Properties.
The firm’s website states it owns and operates about 7,500 suites across Western Canada in 55 similarly sized apartment blocks located in Penticton, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
Projects in the late stages of completion are located in Kelowna, Nanaimo, and Lethbridge.
Officials with that company did not respond to interview requests on Thursday.
Mayor Ted Clugston said Monday that with so many substantial projects and announcements recently, there’s a very positive feeling in the city.
“A lot of these companies are from outside Medicine Hat, and what we’ve said all along is that there’s a Medicine Hat advantage,” said Clugston.
“Our local citizens should realize that we’re competing on a world stage and winning.”
The Southlands project was begun in May 2017 when the city’s land department announced the four-acre site was conditionally sold to Seymour for just under $1 million.
The building permit, with an estimated attached value of $7.9 million, was issued in April and helped push the total permits for the year above 2017 levels.
A site plan shows that complex will have two main buildings comprising a total of 16 one-bedroom, 113 two-bedroom and 24 three-bedroom suites.
In terms of city permitting, it’s one of the largest residential construction projects in recent memory.
Specific to the “apartment” class of permits, which also includes condos and townhouse complexes larger than four units, two other new projects, comprising 24 units, have attached combined estimated value of about $2.4 million.
A bareland condominium complex in eastern phases of Southlands, being built by local firm, NewRock Developments, is well advanced.
It’s comprised of three or four units with common walls in groupings, which Snyder said appears to be a new preference for developers, while new major structures are becoming less common.
This spring the city’s land office discounted a number of multi-family sites it has in its inventory as some city councillors said they hoped to would start a rush to develop them.
Overall residential permits in April continued generally in step with the slow pace set in 2017.
Three new detached home permits bring the to-date total for 2018 to 14, compared to 16 at this point last year.
The number of garage and other permits were steady, though the average alterations were notably higher in value.
A $1.5 million commercial structure in April brings new-build permits to $4.5 million, about four times higher than last year.
Commercial alterations where also higher to the four-month mark. They sat at 21 projects with total budgets of $6.9 million, showing 16 fewer permits, but $2.2 million more in cost, compared to this point last year.