New owners give MacDonald Lofts residents one year to find new homes

ICE District Joint Venture, a partnership between the Katz Group and ONE Properties, is giving residents of the dilapidated MacDonald Lofts one year to find alternative housing.

Condition found 'detrimental to the health and safety' of residents, most on fixed income or social assistance

Tenants of the historic MacDonald Lofts, built in 1913, have one year to move out. (CBC)

ICE District Joint Venture is giving residents of the dilapidated downtown MacDonald Lofts one year to find alternative housing.

"A thorough evaluation of the building has been completed and its condition has been found to be detrimental to the health and safety of the residents," the company said in a news release Monday.

Alberta Health Services declared several of the units in the building unfit for human habitation in August 2016, citing public health issues.

Residents of the historic building, directly north of the new downtown arena at 10128 105th Ave., were notified Monday they have 365 days to find a new home.

There are 66 residents on fixed income or income assistance that will need to be re-housed, said Susan McGee, executive director of Homeward Trust Edmonton.

The agency will work with landlords on the lower end of rental rates to see what is available, she said.

"Individuals that live in the loft have been there, some a long time," McGee said. "It is their home and I think it's also been very stressful to know that there's issues with the building, that there has been orders on various units and so there's been a lot of stress."

It's not just about finding a place to live but to make sure any community supports, or existing supports that residents may have, will continue, she said.

ICE District JV said it will work with Homeward Trust and the province to help residents find suitable housing.

Residents will also receive a relocation package that will include a furniture package, cleaning of personal effects, return or transfer of damage deposit, provision of bare essentials and transportation to new premises, the release said. 

McGee said as a landlord ICE District JV has been supportive of the tenants. 

ICE District JV bought the building last year, but says it is still deciding what to do with it, said Glen Scott, senior vice-president of real estate with the Katz Group.

Future plans 'undetermined'

"The ice district plans are undetermined at this time," Scott said, "We haven't even discussed the use, to be candid.

"It's going to take several months once the building is vacant to understand the exact condition, and then after that what options we have available to us in respect to … the interior of the building."

About 70 per cent of the suites are still occupied, Scott said.

The building is designated as historic and requires discussion with the City of Edmonton on any change for future uses.

ICE District JV, a partnership between the Katz Group, owner of the Edmonton Oilers, and ONE Properties, bought the property late last year.