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Future unclear for stalled Station Pointe development in Edmonton’s northeast

Uncertainty over development
WATCH ABOVE: The developer of an apartment building in Edmonton's northeast near the Belvedere LRT station has gone into receivership. Julia Wong reports.

The future of a property that was previously expected to become Edmonton’s first transit-oriented development is uncertain after the developer fell into receivership.

BCM Developments purchased the land at 403 Belvedere Gate, near the Belvedere LRT station and Fort Road, from the City of Edmonton in 2015.

The land was assigned to Station Point Developments Ltd. with a plan to build a 112-unit apartment building with 19,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

Construction on the Station Pointe Village project started in Oct. 2016 and continued through to early 2019.

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However in June, Kingsett Mortgage Corporation — which had lent the developer $17 million — filed for receivership. Receivership is when the court appoints a third party to take control of a property and liquidate assets, whereas bankruptcy occurs when an individual or business cannot pay their debts.

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The Station Pointe Village apartment building as seen from Fort Road on July 6, 2019.
The Station Pointe Village apartment building as seen from Fort Road on July 6, 2019. Julia Wong/Global News
The Station Pointe Village apartment building as seen on July 6, 2019.
The Station Pointe Village apartment building as seen on July 6, 2019. Julia Wong/Global News
A Station Pointe Village sales centre sits empty on July 6, 2019.
A Station Pointe Village sales centre sits empty on July 6, 2019. Julia Wong/Global News

An affidavit, filed by Kingsett Mortgage Corporation, states Station Point Developments Ltd. “has encountered challenges with respect to the ongoing execution of the Project and is now experiencing liquidity issues.”

The affidavit states the developer did not repay its loan to Kingsett Mortgage Corporation and that a payment had been returned by the developer’s bank because there were “insufficient funds” in its bank account.

The project is 78 per cent complete, and the cost to finish it is close to $7 million.

“Someone’s going to take it over. Station Pointe itself, we’ve got some studies that are done now to see what is feasible for the area,” said area councillor Aaron Paquette when asked about the future of the property.

“This whole area — this Fort Road, Station Pointe area — it’s an interesting challenge, we’ll put it that way. It’s going to take some interesting solution. Really, what transforms a community faster than families? So that’s probably where our focus should be.”

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READ MORE: What happened to the urban village planned for Fort Road in Edmonton?

Sean Molzan lives in the Clareview neighbourhood and has been watching the property closely for the last few years.

He said he originally thought the development was a good idea.

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“Initially it was just wasteland all the way up to that smokestack out there, so it made sense to build housing right here, right next to the Belvedere train station,” Molzan said, adding he had considered living in the development.

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However, news that the developer had gone into receivership isn’t sitting well with him.

“If it’s a third party that is, A, well-funded and, B, has a vision for how the project can still go off, then the third party could make a really good difference to the community around here,” Molzan said.

“If they’re planning on basically just scrapping the whole thing and tearing it apart and sweeping it under the rug, then it’s a little more difficult.”

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WATCH BELOW: A promotional video for the Station Pointe Village development. 

A market study conducted by the City of Edmonton by Altus Group Economic Consulting said there were several challenges with the Station Pointe area.

“While it benefits from significant employment nodes close by and from easy access to the LRT, it is negatively impacted by the adjacent railway lines and industrial areas, dilapidated street-front retail across Fort Road, undesirable sidewalks and streetscapes, the nature of much of the commercial uses along Fort Road and by limited pedestrian activity,” the study reads.

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Paquette said transformation of the area will depend on a few factors.

“How can we bring more families, frankly more buying power, more community connections in order to revitalize an area? The city is already putting in revitalization dollars and efforts into the Baldwin and Belvedere area. We’ve got the Yellowhead investment that’s starting out too. All that money, all of that effort and all of that focus in one area, what we need is a cohesive plan that makes sense,” he said.

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Molzan said the lack of certainty around the project has him feeling “uneasy.”

“You want to see it succeed. You want to see, oh we’ve got a new coffee shop…generate more income for the city,” he said.

“I would like to see it continue because what they’ve built here seems like a pretty solid concept. It’s your apartment on top, retail space on the bottom so you’re getting the best of both worlds. Plus, traditionally, you have a lot of stuff like [retail] across the road so it fits in with the neighbourhood.”

WATCH BELOW: Exactly where should supportive and affordable housing go in Edmonton? Vinesh Pratap took a closer look in 2016.

Social housing project highlights affordable housing issues in Edmonton
Social housing project highlights affordable housing issues in Edmonton