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Senior-style housing complex shelved

By Staff | Mar 11, 2010

A Killarney, Manitoba housing developer won’t go forward with a 14-unit senior-style living complex in Rugby.

Harley Johnson informed the Rugby Area Job Development Authority (JDA) that increased building costs and the no property tax exemption from the city forced Johnson to adjust rent prices, and that turned away some prospective tenants and made it difficult to attract others.

The last estimate came in just over $1.25 million and it was too risky to go ahead and build the complex and hope to fill the units.

Johnson was narrowly turned down twice last year by the Rugby City Council for a five-year property tax exemption. At that time, he had nearly all of the units lined up to be rented and had price quotes from builders and suppliers.

Following that second council vote in September, Johnson said he would wait a few months before deciding to proceed. For the past few months he has advertised to find tenants interested in renting a unit, but few wanted to be on a list.

The proposed complex was to be built on the east side of town and feature a spacious floor plan and amenities, including two bedrooms, two baths, insulated wood floors, en suite laundry and a single garage and patio.

Similar housing units were built by Johnson in Bottineau and Killarney. In Bottineau, he received a five year, 100 percent property tax exemption from the city council there. The Rugby JDA reviewed Johnson’s exemption application and recommended passage.

However, some on the council expressed concerns the exemption did not fall into the framework of new business and job development. There was also concerns the senior housing, although different than existing housing options, could be considered competition.

Brenda Foster, JDA executive director, said the news is disappointing, and a $1 million building project won’t be in coming to the city.

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