Kootenay Co-op is one pre-sale away from reaching its target to allow construction to begin on the $26 million Nelson Commons residential and retail project.
That was the message delivered to the co-op membership on Wednesday night at the AGM and information meeting held at the Adventure Hotel.
The first signs of demolition of the old Extra Foods site, to prepare for new construction, should be visible before Christmas.
Kootenay Co-op director Leon Pigott told the crowd that 34 of the 54 units have now been pre-sold and only one more is needed to reach the promised $12 million mark needed.
He said pre-sales consist of a “signed contract and a significant deposit.”
“We are hoping to be done by Friday, so let me just be clear on that, with signed agreements we are essentially one sale short and we have two discussions that look like they will be complete by Friday. If not Friday then early next week,” said Pigott.
He added that the goal is to have the old building down by Christmas.
Originally the co-op’s financial goal was to sell 46 of the 54 units before construction began, but after some financial restructuring, which lowered the debt threshold, that number was reduced.
Wednesday’s meeting, held after the AGM, was designed to bring the co-op membership up to speed with all the information.
“As a co-op we feel very strongly about being transparent and open with our membership,” said Pigott.
“There’s little that the management knows that the membership doesn’t.”
The membership posed several questions to the board members about the project. Most of them expressed concern about the possible financial risks.
“I think this project has proved itself. The way I talk about it is, if this is not a good project we would not have 33, 34 pre-sales, we’d have six pre-sales and be moving on to plan B,” said Pigott.
The contingency plan is to not build the apartments and just rebuild the old store, but Pigott said it’s unlikely that plan will be needed.
With the numbers of sales reaching the goal and financial partners that include Vancity and the Columbia Basin Trust to name a few, Pigott said he’s confident.
“This project offers a very good financial return.”
Once the pre-sale goal is reached, the timeline for construction can begin.
New construction should start in the spring of 2015. The project is expected to be completed by late spring of 2016. Pre-sales of the remaining 20 units will continue during the construction phase.
If the project is completed and some of the units are still available, Pigott said the co-op would consider renting the empty spaces.
How it started:
In 2012 the Kootenay Co-op purchased the Extra Foods grocery store in the 700 block of Vernon Street. The blockbuster deal to acquire the aging grocery store and adjacent parking lot along Baker Street cost the country store cooperative $3.57 million. The decision was made to tear down the old building and start fresh. In order to fund the ambitious new grocery store and retail space, the decision was made to add a 54-unit, three-storey residential component on top.