New Brunswick

Uptown Saint John apartment complex to be finished by early next year, developer says

Construction on The Wellington at the corner of Wellington Row and Union Street began last March. The building stands on the site of the former Jelly Bean Houses, a historical landmark demolished in 2017.

Half of the units at The Wellington will be affordable-housing apartments

Construction of The Wellington is well underway. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

A mixed-income apartment building in Saint John's uptown is on track to be completed by early next year.

Construction on The Wellington at the corner of Wellington Row and Union Street began last March. The building stands on the site of the former Jelly Bean Houses, historic landmarks demolished in 2017.

The 47-unit housing project is owned by Saint John Non-Profit Housing and designed by Acre Architects. Half of the units will be for rent at a maximum of $1,400 to the general population, and the other half will be assisted accommodation funded by the government.

The 47-unit mixed-income residential building is owned by Saint John Non-Profit Housing. (Saint John Non Profit Housing)

Lisa Keenan with Saint John Non-Profit Housing said the building will be done by December of this year or January of next year after some COVID-19 delays.

"It's been difficult, there's no question about it," she told Information Morning Saint John. "But every day I drive by it, it's fantastic to see that the progress is happening."

Keenan said the project is two years behind because of the supply-chain disruptions and increased costs for building materials. She said the current timeline could still change depending on the availability of construction materials.

The Wellington building, going up at Wellington Row and Union Street, looks like new construction. But the people behind it say its unique in Saint John. Host Julia Wright speaks with architect Stephen Kopp and Lisa Keenan, board president for Saint John Non-Profit Housing.

She said the units can be expanded or retrofitted with accessibility elements so people can stay late into their lives.

Stephen Kopp, founding partner of Acre Architects, said the complex is being built to be as energy efficient as possible. This includes having proper insulation, no air leakages, proper windows, and heat recovery ventilators. All those elements combined mean the amount of heating needed is "very, very minimal."

"This is a path to Canada's 2050 target of being completely net zero," he told Information Morning Saint John.

Crews working on The Wellington building in uptown Saint John on Wednesday. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

He said the company wouldn't know exactly how energy efficient the building is until it's in use. The goal is to be the most efficient building in the Maritimes.

"We think it definitely can be," he said.

Keenan said there's a waiting list for people who want to rent both the marketable units and the low-income units.

"There is a lineup for both," she said.

Kopp said he's happy to be part of the effort to modernize Union Street.

"Filling the missing teeth in Saint John is very important to the uptown," he said.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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