Winnipeg: $200 million SkyCity Centre building permit expires

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The building permit has expired for Fortress Real Estate Development’s SkyCity Centre, a $200 million condo in downtown Winnipeg that will be the city’s tallest structure.

City officials say this means that the developer may forfeit $75,00 in fees, but Fortress says it is working on value engineering initiatives with contractor EllisDon and expects to reapply for the building permit early this year.

The developer plans to build the 45-storey 388-unit tower on a surface parking lot on the northeast corner of Graham Ave. and Smith St.

In January 2016, Fortress paid $125,000 for a six-month permit to excavate the downtown property and begin placing piles into the ground, CBC Winnipeg reports. The city extended that permit another six months, as long as complete construction drawings were submitted by Dec. 1.

However, this extended construction permit has expired, the city confirmed last week via email to CBC.

“The original excavation/piling staged permit is now considered to be ‘expired’ under the definition of the Winnipeg Building Bylaw,” said spokeswoman Alissa Clark, speaking on behalf of the planning, property and development department. “Neither a permit application nor final building permit drawings have been received in conjunction with 245 Ave.”

The permit’s expiration means Fortress is entitled to a 40 per cent refund of the $125,000 fee, or $50,000, Clark said in an email.

However, Fortress says the project is going ahead and construction will commence this spring.

“Permit drawings will be submitted in full in the new year,” Fortress spokeswoman Natasha Alibhai said in a December email to CBC. “The team along with the builder, EllisDon, is currently undergoing a detailed value engineering exercise that is focused on finding efficiencies in materials and construction timeline.”

The firm has drilled bore holes into the site to investigate soil conditions before excavation, she wrote.

Alibhai also said more than 50 per cent of SkyCity’s proposed residential units have been sold and Fortress has hired Cushman & Wakefield Winnipeg to sell office condominiums at SkyCity.

“The program is underway and in the new year we will begin exploring offers on the retail space. Fortress will continue to focus on sales at SkyCity and financing discussions are underway,” she said in the email to CBC. “We do not anticipate any delays to starting construction in the spring and first occupancies of residential units are still planned for the end of 2019.”

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