Botched Yellowknife condos to be demolished

An abandoned condo project in Yellowknife is finally being demolished, and plans are in the works for new condos and townhomes in the area.

New developers preparing to make new condo, townhome units

The structures have been left as they are for years. Now, the city has bought back the land and is selling it in several pieces to different developers. (CBC)

A botched condo project in Yellowknife is finally being demolished.

The partially built Bayview Estates has been an eyesore ever since its developer ran out of money and left the condos to rot.

Now, there's interest in reviving the prime piece of real estate.

"I mean it's not attractive obviously," said Heather Chankie.

Chankie bought her home in the Niven Lake neighbourhood eight years ago to experience Back Bay's beauty. But instead of float planes and fauna, her view has been blocked by the unfinished buildings.

Lessons learned from past, says mayor

In 2006, Bond Street Properties began building the 92-unit condos. But after going bust, the buildings spent years in limbo.

Now, the City of Yellowknife has bought back the land, divided it into five separate lots, and put them up for sale. Two have already been sold.

Heather Chankie bought her home in Niven Lake eight years ago - well before construction on the Bayview Estates condos first began. The buildings block her view of the scenic Back Bay area. (CBC)

But this isn't the first time a developer has had plans for the site. In 2010, Mike Mrdjenovich of Nova Builders announced he would start work on the scenic waterfront property. But the plans never went any further, and Mrdjenovich sold the land to the city.

Yellowknife mayor Gordon Van Tighem said they learned from the Bayview Estates fiasco; developers had to show proof of financing and northern experience before sealing the deal.

"There are indications required of financial capabilities. And the developers that have bid on it so far are ones with development experience locally and that's the key thing, because frequently people come here from outside. They don't know what they are running into for a building season," he said.

Plans for 52 new units so far

Redcliff Developments is one developer which hopes to complete 16 high-end townhomes by next summer.

"Our plans are to demolish all the wood structure you see here now and take it down to the foundation and rebuild new," said Jordan Harker from Redcliff.

Harker said the area is a prime piece of real estate.

"It was always known as a good chunk of land. When it became available it caught our attention right away. It’s nice to get rid of these older buildings and start fresh because it's been kind of covered by these eyesores for the past four years."

Just up the hill, another developer, Summit Circle Developments, has even bigger plans to make 36 condos in the first phase of their building plans.

"It was a beautiful piece of sloping rock that sloped down to Back Bay and it was really quite devastated. It has been sort of a scar for Yellowknife so what we wanted to do was repair and heal the site," said Wayne Guy, the president of Summit Circle Developments.

While the sound of construction is music to the ears of many in Niven Lake, some are wary.

"Are they building this on speculation? Have they got some buyers? Do they have some investors? Are they going to complete the project? I guess [that] is my biggest concern," said Karen Brown, who lives across the street from the abandoned buildings.

Redcliff Developments said it hopes to have its sales package ready in a few weeks, while Summit Circle Developments has already sold half its units.