HOMES will start to appear on the long-defunct Evelyn site above Park Royal shopping centre within the next four months, according to the developers who are slated to take over the project this week.
Chris Evans, executive vice-president of Onni development group, said the company will start construction on the early phases - much as they were envisioned by the original architects - sometime later this year, with occupancy slated for early 2014.
Onni is taking control of the troubled West Vancouver residential development following a court-ordered deal with the previous owner's creditors.
"We basically are stepping into the exact position that the previous developer was in, with all the permits, plans, and approvals," Evans said. "That will give us a very good head start. We don't have the ability to start on site tomorrow, but our plan is to move forward with both site work and building permits."
The previous developer, Millenium Evelyn Properties, had intended to build 109 homes in three complexes on the 20-acre site near Keith Road and Taylor Way. Roughly a third of those units were pre-sold, although those buyers had their deposits returned after Evelyn's parent company ran into financial grief during the 2008 credit crisis. Carrying more than $151 million in debt, the project went into receivership in March of this year without any construction work underway. The site has sat fenced off and vacant since then, aside from a small marijuana grow operation discovered by West Vancouver police in August.
One of dozens of companies contacted by the receiver, Onni stepped in with a new financing plan and agreed to pay $225,000 towards the unsecured creditors' bills.
Evens said Onni's plan is to proceed with the first phase as planned, but said the later ones, which do not yet have development permits, may change.
"It has terrific opportunities, but it is a challenging site," he said. "Our plan is to move forward with the early phases as they are and, I think, really work towards building confidence in the location."
Onni will be contacting the original pre-buyers to see if they are still interested, but Evans said they do not yet have a firm selling price for the planned homes.
"That's going to be completely re-evaluated. Markets change on a daily basis. Our intention is to work back through all the pricing metrics for the project, which are not finalized at this point.
"We're really looking forward to this oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in a project of this size in West Vancouver, which is obviously one of Canada's most sought-after neighbourhoods. We're excited to making it a reality."
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