Project’s troubled history
Developers broke ground for the 99-unit Conservatory luxury residential condominium project in October 2002, and it has been a thorn in Kelowna’s side from that moment forward.
For the first few years, it was little more than a big, yawning hole in the ground, as the developer worked through financial issues.
Construction started in earnest by 2005, but again was quickly stymied.
The building boom had come to the city, and it tapped the labour pool which in turn put upward pressure on construction costs.
In 2002, the project was supposed to ring in at just under $14 million.
By the time construction was in full swing again in 2008 the first phase of The Conservatory was expected to cost something closer to $29 million, which was far above previously secured financing.
There was no means to recoup costs from investors who purchased their suites at a cost of $240 a square foot, considering developers could only increase prices by 27 per cent.
By the time the property went into receivership, costs were more in the range of $470 and $550 a square foot.
They still moved forward, but as construction reached the 84 per cent completion mark, developers had to go back to the bank to do some refinancing. That kept them afloat for a few months, but the project eventually went into receivership.
Contractors got paid for work they had put in, but the 60 buyers who had made deposits on the individual units would wait until June 2009 to get their money back.