Friday, August 17, 2007

Developers have plans for the city

While they continue to work on their housing development off of 11th Avenue, Northern Capital Wood Products Ltd. and CIF Construction say they have other plans for Rupert and they're apparently not alone.

After a lenghty slump in new housing construction, it seems that property developers are keeping their eyes on the city and its economy.

The Wednesday Daily News featured the details on the newest development in the city and what may soon be on the horizon.

Contractors pursuing new housing projects
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The company building a 16-home subdivision off 11th Avenue East says they are committed to Prince Rupert in the long term, and are aggressively pursuing other development projects in the city.

Wayne Ward, president of Northern Capital Wood Products Ltd. - the company is in a joint venture with CIF Construction on the current 11th Avenue East project - says that they aren't another company only looking to profit from the projected economic boom of the city.

"We really made a commitment to Prince Rupert, and we're not just going to do this subdivision, that was never our intent," said Ward. "We like Prince Rupert and we've had employees relocating there on a permanent basis, because we're in there for the long term, not just short-term. Even in our building practice, we're not trying to maximize on profits as much as we're looking to build really high quality so that people will see that type of quality and expect it."

Ward said that in addition to aggressively pursuing other development opportunities in town, the joint venture between CIF and Northern Capital is looking to create a subsidiary company in the city established in the very near future, which will be more reflective of the company's long term vision for Prince Rupert.

"I've been involved in too many other things and I know what if feels like when you've got somebody from Vancouver or Alberta coming into my market or my town and bring all their trades and materials and then they're gone," said Ward. "We're very cognizant of that, and we're looking to build lasting relationships, and have people look to us as the people they want to build their home."

In addition to establishing a local company, Northern Capital and CIF have made an effort to buy as much of their supplies as possible from local retailers and wholesalers and use as many local people as they can, even if in some cases it means paying a premium.

Ward also detailed what people can expect from their first development, and what else will be burgeoning on the horizon.

"We're hoping to fill a couple different areas. This subdivision we're doing now is going to be a high end subdivision, where there will be granite countertops, custom designed kitchens, hard wood floors, slate tiles, and wrought-iron staircases," he said. "What we're trying to do in this subdivision is not so much for new families or the entry level market."

Most of the lots in the subdivision will have basements, whether they're daylight or walk-out basements, and there will be some that won't have one. The lots will also vary in size, where some will have a pie shape, some will be shorter, and a couple will be designed wide enough to park a boat or RV in the backyard or on the side of the house.

"It's been a long process working in Prince Rupert with the development costs for the land, I mean we've taken out 18 feet of muskeg already," Ward said.

"I think we must have taken 1,500 truck loads out of the area already. The way we looked at it was although there was a huge cost to do it, but the trade-off is now we've got basements, and we've got solid foundations."

CIF and Northern Capital have been working very closely with numerous engineering firms, having them come in to monitor and sign-off on everything they've done to date with the project.
"We're a registered home warranty builder, you have a ten-year warranty with these homes with the homebuilder, so on our side that's important because we don't want to be going back and fixing issues that weren't done right," said Ward.

"Twenty or 30 people will stop by the site, look around and ask the guys questions nearly every day it seems. So there's definitely some enthusiasm around it. "

Ward says that ideally their company will be servicing all markets in Prince Rupert, many of which will be more economical.

He also said that their ventures aren't focusing on any one particular area, but a variety of different locations throughout the city.

"The way this subdivision is designed, you come into a secluded area where you're driving into a neighbourhood. That's what we're trying to get across, a community neighbourhood feel," he said.

"Even in the some of the other designs we're doing for entry-level, those will have a design that will be more family oriented feel, where people will be able to get to know their neighbour by the way we design it."

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