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Apartment building small relief for tight vacancy rate
Fifteen-unit Toro Ventures Ltd. project targeted to be complete by summer 2012

Thandie Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Construction is now underway downtown of an executive-class apartment building.

NNSL photo/graphic

A Zoom Boom truck operator lifts construction materials onto the site of an apartment building development downtown on Monday. The Toro Ventures project is targeted to be complete by summer 2012. - Thandie Vela/NNSL photo

The four-storey, 15-unit apartment development at the corner of 51 Avenue and 47 Street is targeted to be complete by summer 2012, Toro Ventures Ltd. director Cheryl Robinson-Houweling said.

"It will be finished at an executive level so we're really catering to the business executives in downtown Yellowknife," Robinson-Houweling said.

With the latest regional figures pegging the city's vacancy rate at less than one per cent, Robinson-Houweling said the great demand for housing was a main factor in planning the development.

"There's a huge demand for housing and apartments and condos in Yellowknife," Robinson-Houweling said. "We're just trying to cater to the market."

Based on a rental market survey conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in April, Yellowknife has a vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent, which is "very tight," regional representative Sandra Turner told Yellowknifer.

"It looks pretty tight still," Turner said, noting the housing corporation will be conducting its next Yk rental market survey in October, with the results to be released in November or December. Turner added there has been no new stock built in terms of rental since the last survey, and Toro's development might bring some relief to the market.

Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce executive director Tim Doyle called the development "fantastic news."

"I think as far as the chamber of commerce is concerned, any new units added to this town are going to be welcome news," Doyle said. "People are having a really hard time finding affordable living conditions here and it's a simple matter of supply and demand - if they build more, it will become more cost-efficient to live here. So it's fantastic news."

Drawing more people to live downtown might "bring some life back" into the core, Doyle added.

"With people living downtown, businesses should follow," he said. "It'll benefit us all around."

The 15-unit apartment, tentatively called The Point, is to include single, two-bedroom suites, a three-bedroom unit, a penthouse suite that will take the whole top floor, and a barrier-free unit on the main floor to accommodate someone with a wheelchair, project co-ordinator for Clarke Builders Dale Johnson said.

Clark Builders is the construction management contractor for the project.

"It's a nice design," Johnson said, noting the exterior design finishes are still being developed. Robinson-Houweling said the company is in the preliminary design phase and will have more information about the suites and an exterior mock-up ready by October.

The construction site is currently employing about six full-time labourers, Johnson said, a number that will likely increase as the project goes on.

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