Admiral developers consider options 0
The developer of the Admiral Collingwood site will spend the next two weeks exploring his options as the sputtering economy threatens to put the development on hold.
On Wednesday, Steve Assaff announced that the delays in getting his five-storey project off the ground, combined with the "financial tsunami" has given him pause.
"If the numbers were reversed, and I had two-thirds of the units pre-sold (rather than one-third), I would still be going ahead," Assaff told the Enterprise-Bulletin on Thursday morning. "But, I'm not willing to gamble everything I have on this project."
The project has been controversial since it was first presented to the town four years ago. The original proposal called for a six-storey building at the corner of Hume and Hurontario; that project was approved by the previous council, but it wasn't without resistance.
VOTE Collingwood filed an appeal of council's decision to the Ontario Municipal Board on the basis the project didn't follow the downtown heritage guidelines for buildings to be no higher than three stories. In January, 2007, the new council rescinded the approvals for the project; that allowed VOTE to withdraw its appeal, but it led to lengthy negotiations between the town and the developer.
Assaff said had it not been for the delays, the project would have been complete by this summer. He estimated it has cost him approximately $7 million at this point, including the cost of blasting away at the bedrock in order to excavate the site.
"We're about ready to pour concrete," he said. "But I can't sit here in limbo because it's not fair to the people who did purchase units, and my commercial tenants don't want to wait forever, either."
Assaff said he has several options to consider, including the possibility of bringing in a new partner, scaling the development back to three stories, selling the property, or mothballing the project for the time being.
"There are quite a few different options," he said, noting that aside from getting another partner, none of them is very palatable. "None of the answers are good."