Work underway on vacant property in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart
Published on August 25, 2014

Construction is underway on a condominium project on the corner of Prince and Grafton streets.

©Guardian photo by Ryan Ross

The big hole at the corner of Prince and Grafton streets is finally starting to fill up.

For the past few weeks, the on-again, off-again project has been on and it appears this time it’s for real.

City council voted 10-0 at a recent meeting to dispose of a small piece of land along Prince Street to clear the way for a 21-unit condominium development to proceed at 194-198 Grafton St. The piece of land measures four feet by 40 feet. The developer is responsible for paying fair market value and all costs associated with the transfer.

The project has been stuck in mud for the past three to four years. It has had more than one developer, too. Philip O’Halloran has got it now.

Coun. Rob Lantz, chairman of the planning and heritage committee, is happy to see things finally moving in the right direction.

“If you drive past the site right now you will see that the foundation footings are going in,’’ Lantz said following council’s meeting. “He has his building permit for the foundation and it looks like work is underway. That is good news.’’

Council does have one condition — the foundation phase of the project must be completed within two months of council’s approval of the sale of the property. That happened Aug. 11.

“We want to see the foundation fully completed before this winter, if not more than that. Preferably, more than just the foundation.’’

Lantz said the adjacent property owner is concerned that the excavation will cause his heritage property problems, especially with heavy rains. Thus the reason for the hard push on getting a foundation in.

Lantz said the project was supposed to gain some traction last year.

“He intended to do the foundation work last fall and it got late in the fall, we had an early winter and he was still finishing up another project.’’

For two whole years, nothing was happening at the corner. The hole was dug and there was a fence around the property but that was it. People were asking lots of questions and Lantz was getting his share of them.

“I’ve been assuring people that the developer completely intended to move ahead with the project and that’s what’s happening there now.’’

The original developers backed off intentions to build on the site.

In October of last year, council passed a resolution authorizing the public works department to fill the large hole if construction didn’t get underway soon. But the city was reluctant to follow through because the estimated cost of excavating the property was $30,000 to $40,000 and wouldn’t have helped get the project off the ground.