New apartment building must be built to cover cost of house renovations, says developer

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - Calder Creelman says he needs to build a new apartment building in order to renovate a home located in the town's heritage conservation district.
Creelman testified yesterday at a Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearing regarding the town's April decision to not enter into a development agreement at 22 Duke and 29 Victoria streets.
His proposal would have seen a new two-storey, 10-unit building - designed liked
five town houses - constructed on the sites and renovations done to turn a single-family home into a three-unit building on Victoria Street.
Creelman said yesterday that 29 Victoria St. is in "dire state of repair and needs the 10-unit building to generate the income stream to justify the extensive investment in the existing structure."
A heritage planning appeal report cited yesterday said there is "irreversible structural damage to the foundation."
Creelman said, during his two hours of testimony before the board's Roland Deveau, the foundation is a leaking rock wall with a mud floor. He planned to remove the home to another site, install a new foundation, replace the home and conduct extensive renovations inside. He described it as essentially rebuilding the home. He estimated replacing the foundation would cost about $35,000 plus more than $100,000 in renovations.
After the town denied the development agreement in April, Creelman made an application to demolish 29 Victoria St. Council decided to table a decision until after the utility and review hearing.
Creelman said yesterday he made the application because he is concerned about
his liability after being told he would not be insured as no one is living in the home.
"It wasn't habitable or re-rentable," he said noting he was "very nervous."
He also found out the town was updating the Municipal Planning Strategy and there are some neighbours who have been lobbying to change the policies to preclude more than two-unit buildings from the area.
Creelman said his preference remains constructing the new building and renovating and "rejuvenating" 29 Victoria St.
"I spent two or three years trying to come up with a plan to fit ... I would very much like to go ahead with the development agreement," Creelman said.
Creelman has also developed other properties in the area and said "every application that I have made for development agreement has been appealed."

Organizations: Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Victoria Street

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Recent comments

  • Colin
    January 18, 2010 - 10:17

    Firstly, Truro has the highest vacancy rate in the province and the drastically higher ratio of rental to family homes for the towns in the province. Second, we've got an ever decreasing number of affordable homes suitable for families in town. The proposed development would simply exacerbate the problem.

    The main problem with your point is that, why do you expect these apartments to be any nicer than the slum units? All landlords in town are held to the same standards, Mr. Creelman need not do anything more than the bare minimum that other landlords do. There is no assurance that the new units won't be more of the same.

  • AJ
    January 18, 2010 - 09:43

    Let the poor man build the apartments already!

    There's a shortage of non-slum units to rent in town as it is, something like this is just what we need.

    Sure, the old building is in the heritage district, but at some point you have to be reasonable - nobody can live in the place now, and even if he DID spend the money to renovate it, he'd still be stuck with a 80-year old building that most likely had other inherent problems. (Money pit!)