Massive City Gardens development on track despite challenges, developers say

$200M build still on track

A year after ground was broken on the ambitious project, the Kelson Group’s $200-million City Gardens development in downtown Kamloops remains on track to complete its 24-storey residential tower by mid 2025.

The entire multiphase project is slated to include a total of 525 units in two residential towers, condos, low-rise rental apartments and townhomes, as well as commercial space.

The project officially broke ground one year ago at Fourth Avenue and Nicola Street.

The development’s 24-storey, 150-unit Trillium Tower will be the tallest building in Kamloops when completed. Realtor Brendan Shaw, who is selling the high-rise condos, said nearly half of them have already been spoken for.

“Were almost 50 per cent sold on our unit count,” he told Castanet Kamloops.

“So from construction phasing, they're just started essentially working on the parkade. So being 50 per cent sold at kind of the start of construction is a great figure to be at.”

Shaw said that buyers lined up at 2 a.m. to be a part of the pre-sale process.

“So two-thirds of the buyers are actually local,” said Shaw.

“About a third of the purchasers so far are from out of town. So we’re seeing people from the Okanagan, from the GVRD, from Prince George that are looking at this project.”

Many of the Trillium buyers are retirees, according to Shaw.

“Approximately 60 per cent of the purchasers were retirees or empty nesters that were looking for for a place to call home and downsize," he said.

Shaw said there are some concerns around rising interest rates.

“What we're seeing is, especially in the last week or so with the announcement from the Bank of Canada, that they're relatively gonna adopt a strategy of holding rates steady and looking at potentially reducing rates here in early 2024,” said Shaw.

“We're seeing some favourable rates actually being offered by some of the banks on three or five-year terms.”

Despite the concern around rates, construction of the Trillium tower is currently on schedule and is expected to reach the occupancy stage in mid-2025.

“The excavation part went smooth,” said Kelly Fawcett, vice-president of the Kelson Group.

“Our shoring is almost complete. I've been told they've got maybe a week, week and a half left to complete all the shoring up the perimeters. The concrete guys, despite weather challenges — these guys are from Calgary-Edmonton area — they are doing a phenomenal job working through all this cold.”

Fawcett said between 400 and 500 cubic meters of concrete is being poured every week.

The Kelson Group is monitoring supply chain issues, but Fawcett said he is predicting it won’t impact construction of City Gardens.

“A lot of the interior finishes is the part that we were hearing a lot of the delays and stuff. So we've still got lots of time for that," he said.

"So we're really hoping that the supply chain issues are resolved by then and we're hearing good positive things on that end."

The Kelson Group has also been monitoring inflation.

“Our costs have definitely gone up,” said Fawcett.

“But, like I say, when we were planning this we were aware there was some risks coming up. So at the moment, we're still well within our our predictions for costs.”

The development is keeping many local trades busy, Fawcett said.

“A lot of our major bids right now are being local,” he said.

“They’ve all came in and they’re giving us fair prices on this job.”

Fawcett continued by stating that the new units will aid Kamloops’ downtown core.

“People talk about, you know, crime or activities like that, but one of the best things you can do with that is put people there. When there's a lot of people around that helps," he said.

“So that not only helps with crime, but restaurants, businesses, employers that are coming down here. When we think about how close we are to the hospital — we're excited about providing homes for nurses and doctors.”

Fawcett predicts 1,200 to 1,500 residents will call City Gardens home once it's built out.

Evan Choy bought one of the Trillium units on the first day of pre-sales.

“I purchased a one bed, one den and, for what the current market is it's [a] very reasonable price especially in Kamloops right now,” said Choy.

“With that being said, it's a unique design, it's very modern — so I think it was a great deal.”

Choy said that the development will bring a modern look to Kamloops’ downtown core.

“It brings a real cool modern design to Kamloops that this urban area is needing for quite some time, because we've had growth in the economy, the population, the university and just the businesses that we have here,” he said.

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