Building is booming in Amherstburg, with new housing starts up 25 per cent over last year’s numbers according to the town’s chief building official.
“We are putting basements in every week throughout the town,” said CBO Steve Brown, adding the most popular areas for home building have been Canard Estates in McGregor, the Golfview and Big Creek subdivisions at the north and south ends of town and on Boblo Island.
Brown said 52 new housing starts – seven apartments, 35 single-family dwellings and 10 townhomes – have gotten underway this year from Jan. 1 to mid-June. That translates into a 25 per cent increase over the same time period in 2014.
And he pointed out housing starts were up 10 per cent in 2014 over the previous year.
“I would say (we’ve had) triple the amount of work that we’ve had in any other year that we’ve been in business,” said Drew Coulson, general contractor and owner of Coulson Design-Build Inc.
Coulson and his crew were busy Thursday working on townhouse units at Riverfront Park Townhomes just off Sandwich Street South, finishing four homes and preparing the foundation for four more.
Riverfront Park Townhomes development is progressing in Amherstburg on July 2, 2015. (JULIE KOTSIS/The Windsor Star)
He took over the development in 2014 after the site sat idle when construction stopped in 2008.
And the units are selling faster than they can build them.
“This project here, we haven’t been able to show a home yet finished,” said real estate sales representative Ron Deneau. “These are all people buying off paper (drawings).”
Amherstburg’s relatively low residential tax rates, amenities, schools and picturesque setting were all noted as draws by Deneau.
“A lot of people want to move to Amherstburg,” said Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have just recently moved in and they just like the town.”
DiPasquale said real estate agents have told him there’s a need for more housing and some homes have had multiple purchase bids.
Holding up some of that development is the need for infrastructure that will allow the new homes to hook into the town’s new sewer system.
DiPasquale said administration is waiting to find out if the town qualifies for government grants to install a new force main, which would move wastewater from the north end of town to the south end, where the sewage treatment plant is located.
“Without this…it’s going to be difficult to grow much more. It’s key to increasing our population in the town,” DiPasquale said. “That’s the only way we can grow the town.”
Brown said 17 condos will be built in the near future on the site of the Echo Building on Dalhousie Street and another 17-unit condominium development, to be built a couple blocks south is in the planning stages, while 26 apartments, including 17 barrier-free units, are underway at the former Blue Haven Motel.
Brown said administration has worked hard also to streamline the process for developers who want to build in Amherstburg.
“It’s one-stop shopping,” Brown said, where information about zoning, parking and other requirements can be obtained easily. “They’re not going to have to go to two or three different departments and that’s probably the nice thing about developing in a small town.”
Provided by The Windsor Star – July 9, 2015