Regina's 'eyesore' Capital Pointe project accumulates tax arrears, liens

Fortress Real Developments, the company behind the long-delayed Capital Point project in Regina, has accumulated nearly $50,000 in property tax arrears.

Company behind on project, says taxes will be cleared 'shortly'

Fortress Real Developments says the project is 'winterized' at the moment. (CBC News)

Regina's Capital Pointe project has accumulated nearly $1 million in liens against it and $50,000 in property tax arrears.

In a week, the City of Regina must determine if "meaningful construction" has happened at the site, which is located on the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue.

Fortress Real Developments, the company that took over the project in 2014 from Westgate Properties, recently pushed back the completion date to 2020, with the construction expected to reach ground level by 2018 — the latest timeline given after years of delays.

"They owe us money," said Phil Bergen, director of CLC Building Solutions Inc., which filed a lien against the property in late February, alleging it is owed $465,119 in payments.

"I guess we'll see what happens."

Bergen said the company pulled its crews in late 2017. Up until then, it had been excavating and doing other backfill services on the site since 2015, according to court documents.

ITC construction is another company that has placed a lien on the property for $514,224.

On the developer's website, ITC is named as the project's builder. Reached for comment on Thursday, ITC wouldn't provide a response.

In an email statement to CBC News, attributed to the project's development team, Fortress said liens are common in the construction industry and that previous liens filed against the property have since been resolved.

In this case, they state the liens were "filed erroneously and improvidently."

"Anyone can register a lien on a project, that does NOT mean the monies are owed to them. This matter will be resolved through a process that is set out in the Saskatchewan Lien Act.

"The companies you are referring to are not builders; they are trade contractors. The lien does not mean they have not been paid at all. Many have been paid very substantial amounts until a dispute arose," the statement read.

'Excusable delays'

In a previous statement, a spokesperson said the project is behind schedule because of a number of "excusable delays," saying $20 million has been spent thus far, with money to be added as it moves through different phases of construction.

As for the lack of crews on site, the development team said the City of Regina agreed to "winterize" the project because of "inefficiencies that occur at this time of year."

"Currently, the forming and shoring for pouring of concrete has been 97% completed. The part that is not complete was purposely left over the winter for stabilization purposes," according to the statement.

The city wouldn't comment on the nearly $50,000 in tax arrears which a Feb. 3 posting shows is owing for the property.

Fortress said it intends to clear up its tax arrears "shortly."

Ward 2 Councillor Bob Hawkins, who has been a vocal critic of the project's progress, refrained from providing comment to except to say he's waiting to see what the city does after March 15.

"I think it's pretty safe to say if you look at the site, there's not been a lot of construction going on there," said Mayor Michael Fougere.

"We're waiting to see what happens when the building permit finishes on March 15, then we'll look [at] it from there."

By then, it will be six months from when the city issued the company a new foundation and site services permit.

If so-called "meaningful construction" has not been carried out by then, the city said the permit will be expired. 

"It's an eyesore right in the heart of the city," Hawkins said of the site.