A new multi-storey condominium development located on Bill Murray Drive, along with an adjoining commercial and retail project was proposed to the City of Prince Rupert on Monday night at the city’s June 22 council meeting.
SwissReal Group, a property management, development and investment company based in Vancouver, proposed the project to council and on hand to outline the development was SwissReal president Franz Gehriger and vice-president Jeremy Towning.
SwissReal has partnered with Frank and Cynthia Pyde as owners in the development and would like to see a few adjustments to current density and building elevation levels to accommodate the project, which would be located on the currently vacant portion of land leading down Bill Murray Drive towards Rotary Waterfront Park.
Eighty residential condo units, incorporating 65,000 sq. feet, 23,000 sq. feet of commercial property consisting of various office space and medical offices and 4,500 sq. feet of retail space made up of stores and/or restaurants paint the full picture of what the development project would look like.
“We would like to be a part of this community and being part of this community means that we want to basically respect the environment, we want to respect city guidelines and we want to respect the nature of this beautiful coastline of northwest British Columbia,” said Gehriger in the presentation to council.
“As you know, the northwest of British Columbia is the future and we are not only here because of potential development of LNG, but we know that the port in Prince Rupert is one of the most important ports in the west coast of Canada and the USA. It has a huge asset being close to Chicago [with] the railway and is the closest port to Asia.”
For the project to move forward, Gehriger requested that a density increase for the zone be enacted as well as an amendment to the current building elevation level to approve a new limit of 28.6 metres instead of the current 15 metres.
That would equate the condominium to sit at approximately four storeys high and would be one storey higher than the Crest Hotel.
“Don’t forget the Crest Hotel is on top of a hill and we are basically starting not at the bottom, but at the middle,” said Gehriger.
In building the development, SwissReal would be aiming for a LEED Canada rating certification of ‘Platinum’, the highest designation in the country for buildings built with sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
“We are under construction in Vancouver where we are fulfilling environmental respects … It might be a challenge but we definitely will be a huge contributer to [a clean Vancouver] as we’ll have a first building which is truly a LEED Platinum building and we will also incorporate ideas of this experience here in Prince Rupert,” said the president.
The developer also addressed view corridor concerns, stating that the project wouldn’t impede the views of any existing residences or businesses.
“It is our opinion that our architect has designed it … it is outside the view corridor and it will not entrench basically directly or indirectly, any bigger residences, except of course [on First Avenue] there is a condo complex (Harbour Side Apartments) … but … the view corridor is more to the other side that has very small windows to our development we are planning,” said Gehriger.
The presenters also stated their intent to buy the property adjacent to Chances’ parking lot for added parking for visitors, which would be property-tax payable.
“We’re looking forward to seeing this progress,” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain, after the presentation was concluded.
“It’s a really great development so far and we’ll be seeing you again, I’m sure.”
SwissReal group is currently constructing a 35-unit townhouse development in Terrace after Terrace city council approved their proposal at a March 23 meeting.