The construction of an apartment complex in west Portage la Prairie has stalled in a major way. Mayor Sharilyn Knox says City Hall recently received word that Bokhari Development has gone into receivership.
"Late last week, we got notice that it happened. August 29th was the court judgment," says Knox. "As a city, our main priority is making sure that the site is safe and that we do anything we can to work with whoever's in charge of the property to get new developers in there to take it over, and finish the project."
Knox says people are always interested in seeing what's happening in a growing community like Portage, so someone will soon see the opportunity and everyone will be happy.
"We need more apartments in Portage of Prairie, for sure," adds Knox.
City manager Nathan Peto says a building like this that's half-finished always raises fire concerns.
"So, we're working with the receiver. They have already responded in terms of securing the site and making sure it's safe. And they are working quickly to make sure that they can make the property, either completed, or investment-ready. We're happy to provide any supports we can from the city to see that come to fruition."
Knox notes the financial state of the city is not impacted, seeing as the development company purchased the land form the city some time ago.
Peto adds the original sale and development agreement was signed in 2020, and construction start delays took took place with the pandemic. She notes they were expecting some units to come online later this year.
"There had clearly been delays earlier in the summer that we had noticed and now with this judgment, we understand why," asserts Peto. "With the receiver now in control of the property, I think their goals will be to get the property to a point where it's secure for the winter."
Peto explains that the dormancy of the construction work incited concerns from neighbours about people entering the property illegally, and there's always the potential for nefarious activities to occur as a result.
"We made a point of working with the RCMP and the fire department, to make sure that they were monitoring the property," continues Peto. "Anytime you have a vacant construction site, you're inviting, potentially, bad things to happen. So, my thanks to the RCMP and our fire department for keeping a close eye on it. Now, we have a really strong security presence there being provided by the receiver. And I don't have any concerns going forward about. I think we're seeing a positive trend in the community. Although this is a setback, it will end up being a good news story."
Court proceedings are outlined in the link here for Bokhari Development.
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