Quadra Village units ready to rent

After nearly two years, more than $2 million of work and the extra cost of environmental remediation, there are 64 units of rental housing now on the market in Quadra Village.

Moreover, the company behind the project has started to eye a new multi-family building for the same lot.

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The 64-unit Quadra Villa on the 2800-block of Quadra Street, at the mercy of construction crews for nearly two years, is taking applications for rental housing for its two- and three-bedroom suites.

At the same time, the League group of companies, which is behind the project, has started work on plans for a new complex next door.

According to Adam Gant, League’s CEO, the completion of the Villa project has been satisfying given some of the delays they’ve dealt with and what the finished product represents.

“I get huge satisfaction turning one of these buildings around. To me, some of the challenges are part of the fun and an aspect of the projects that make them worthwhile,” he said. “This is the type of housing you can’t replace. You can’t build this stuff today and offer it for rent anywhere near what it’s being offered for because of the cost.”

League bought the complex in 2011 for $6.65 million from Oakcrest Park Estates. Renovation work was initially held up by a squabble with the sellers over the costs of and potential liability for environmental remediation.

The final cost of the environmental cleanup — of old cars, metal and other junk that had been used to backfill the lot between buildings — came in at $120,000.

There was a further delay as League waited for construction financing to fall into place. Initially, League hoped units would be available for occupancy in early 2013.

The cost of renovating the lot has yet to be finalized, but Gant said it’s more than $2 million.

“It was a tough project between the environmental cleanup and the state of the building,” he said.

“But I think we have added 30 to 40 years of economic life to it.”

The renovation included a complete overhaul of the exterior, with the addition of new doors and windows. Rotting decks, plumbing and electrical systems were replaced, new floors were installed and existing hardwood was brought back to life.

Cabinets were refinished, the suites were painted and cleaned out, and extensive landscaping was done.

Gant said 25 of the units have been rented out, and there has been a steady stream of interest since the company started offering tours two weeks ago.

Rent in the complex ranges between $1,275 and $1,400 per month.

With the finishing touches on Quadra Villa underway, Gant said the firm is looking at the south parking area on the lot as the location for a new building that would have between 32 and 34 units.

There are no designs and there have been no public hearings as yet, but Gant said he hopes to start construction early next year.

“We want to make sure the community and the city are behind it,” he said. “It will likely be low- to mid-rise styled ... we want to add some more multi-family to the neighbourhood, in keeping with what is surrounding it.”

Meanwhile, League is waiting for a final signature on its construction loan that would restart construction at the $1-billion Capital City Centre in Colwood.

The site, where foundation and concrete slabs for underground parking have been poured for the first phase of development of the massive mixed-use project, has been silent since late July.

Gant said that following discussions this week, work on the site could resume by the end of the month.

“We’re very close now,” he said.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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