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Proposed Fredericton apartment project already has unhappy neighbours

Residents in downtown Fredericton stand united against the building of an apartment complex
WATCH: The developer of a Fredericton apartment complex says the city has approved the project and they’re here to stay despite the concerns raised by residents. Megan Yamoah has more.

A loud, bustling area in Fredericton could soon see the construction of two five-storey buildings, and the development’s new neighbours are already less than thrilled.

“My number one concern really is the water, and what digging over there is going to do,” said Deborah Rippin, who is one of the more than 25 people opposing the project in the neighbourhood.

The project, from Micro Boutique Living Inc., could see an empty lot between Waterloo Row and Forest Hill Road be turned into two towers with as many as 130 and 162 units split between them.

The building will be full of micro-units, ranging in size from 300 to 900 square feet.

READ MORE: New Brunswick unveils new 5-year population growth strategy

Micro Boutique Living Inc., will still have to apply for and receive a wetland and watercourse alteration permit from the New Brunswick government.

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The CEO of the company said they’ve had plans in place for storms and flood season.

“This isn’t a build and flip so we need to make sure we do everything right because we are going to be there for many, many years,” Chris Galea told Global News.

Galea said empty lot development is part of Fredericton’s growth strategy, and on Monday evening, city councillors unanimously approved the project’s first and second readings.

The project will come before council for its third and final reading on Nov. 12.

Riverview community sounds off on controversial apartment development
Riverview community sounds off on controversial apartment development

But some of the new neighbours don’t think the project is well thought out.

“The concept is wonderful, but having it in a place that’s not really walkable and not really accessible to grocery stores restaurants and so on and not being able to have cars [isn’t good],” said Jane Fritz, another resident of the neighbourhood.

But Galea said that concerns from neighbors when it comes to the limited number of parking spots — 55 parking spaces for the as many as 162 units — should be alleviated by their solution.

The building’s underground parking will feature a car share service.

“Tenants can use the car for an hour or two or a day or however much they need on a very short-term basis, and that way they don’t need a car on site because they have one of our cars that they can operate relatively inexpensively,” he said.

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READ MORE: New Brunswick aims to increase number of newcomers within five years

Galea said that his company is focused on long-term rentals and that their units will be energy efficient and have rent that will be 10 to 20 per cent lower than comparable apartments in the area.

The model has found success in Nova Scotia, where they say students make up 80 per cent of their rental market.

“We’re not going away. We’re going to own this building, we’re going to operate it,” said Galea.

“We’re neighbours.”