AMHERST - Proponents of a proposed condominium project near downtown Amherst remain optimistic their project will go ahead as early as late 2010.
Les Carrie, president of Excel Real Estate, said his company is still committed to the 32-unit condominium project on East Victoria Street, but market conditions brought on the recession have delayed its construction.
"Our hope is that as we come into 2010, we'll be coming into a recovered market so that we'll be able to move forward with construction either in late 2010 or early 2011," Carrie said Tuesday. "We want to be able to give the people who could be moving into this facility the chance to feel better about the marketplace and the economic recovery."
Announced in 2008, the Terrace project was seen by the town as a way to stimulate downtown revitalization. But with a commitment for only 45 per cent of the units, the company decided to hold off on getting a building permit. It wanted a 75 per cent commitment before moving ahead.
"It was the economy. We were at the point that we had enough people that we were very optimistic that we were on our way, but when the economy crashed we had a lot of people who were interested back away because their portfolios were eroding," Carrie said. "At the same time, the real estate market, especially at the upper end, was hit pretty hard by the recession."
As a result, Carrie said many people who had come forward as potential purchasers backed away from purchasing units. People weren't pulling out of the project, he said, but wanted to wait until they could get the most money out of their own homes before committing to purchasing a unit in the mulit-million-dollar project.
"We didn't proceed with the building permit because we believed there was not much point in doing this because we weren't going to be able to start within the timelines we'd have to fulfill that part of the contract," he said. "That's why we requested an extension to the development agreement."
Amherst moved a step closer to granting that extension on Monday when it gave first reading to a development agreement for the property that would extend the period during which a building permit be obtained to two years. The previous agreement, signed last September, was for one year and expired a month ago.
The town will hold a public hearing Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., prior to its November council session. Second reading of the development agreement will go before council later in the evening.