Ground has officially been broken and the first unit at what will eventually become Creston House was sold to a Thompson Rivers University employee.
Karen Densky, who works in open learning, was the first person to seal the deal to move into what will become the first residential building at The Reach, a 25-year plan to create a sustainable, pedestrian-friendly community of 3,500 multi-family housing units, retail and office spaces, as well as other services, on the TRU campus.
On Tuesday, administrators, staff and others involved in the project gathered for the official ground-breaking, although -- as people who have driven by campus already know -- work has already begun on what is envisioned to be three-million square feet of urban residential living space.
Cape Construction will build the four-storey, 57,000-square-foot Creston House development. It will consist of 50 contemporary condominium homes available for purchase by anyone in the community. Brendan Shaw and his real-estate firm are handling the marketing and sale of the units; about 40 per cent of the project is sold.
The Creston House project is expected to generate about $20 million of economic activity in Kamloops and the price point per square foot is 10 per cent higher than anywhere else in the city. This makes the building "the premier residential project in the city," said Frank Quinn, chair of the board for the TRU Community Trust, which is developing The Reach.
Ralph Schwartzman, founder of Cape Construction, told the group gathered at what used to be a parking lot next to Old Main Building that he and his family's company are looking forward to being "a part of the growth of a community and its vision."
Cape Construction's past projects include the Richmond Health Science Centre adjacent to Richmond General Hospital, the Crystal Court condominium-townhouse project in the Granville area of Vancouver and Pacifica Nanaimo, a luxury condominium structure on Nanaimo's waterfront.
TRU president Alan Shaver said the groundbreaking has been "a long time coming. . . . I've been ready for this for seven years. It's been a long road, but worth the investment in time and energy to get it right."
The Creston House condominium project is being built on an area that once was parking space for the university. It's designed so that for each space that will disappear from construction, a comparable one will be created in the underground parking lot to ensure the work is parking-neutral.
Also planned is a second project, also a four-storey structure, that will be built by Kelson Group. It will be located between the Creston House site and the International Building.
Both companies are family-owned.
Kelson Group, based in Kamloops, has been managing properties for more than four decades and has construction projects underway on the Coast and at Summit Drive and Springhill Drive in Sahali, where it is building a rental apartment building where the former Sports Central Lounge and private liquor store once stood.
Cape Construction was created in 1958 by the Manitoba-based Schwartzman family; it is now run by a third generation of that family.
Part of The Reach's long-term plan includes seeing 40,000 square feet of new office space, 42,000 square feet of new retail space and a variety of restaurants and other amenities built on the 90 acres designated for development.
Total value of the entire project is estimated at $1 billion.
The Reach is being created through the university's community trust. The land will be leased to the developers to generate an ongoing revenue stream that will be used for student assistance and to fund research at TRU. Creston House building features: o Contemporary design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright; o Expansive rooftop terrace with stunning views; o Designed for the sun; o Large roof overhang for sun and rain protection; o Expansive, sunny balconies; o High ceilings; o Quality finishes; o Natural cedar soffits and brick accents; o Formal lobby with modern finishes; o Elegant Interiors; oEuropean inspired, professionally designed; oChoose from two modern colour schemes; oWhite Oak floors, engineered hardwood or laminate options; oPlush carpets in all bedrooms and dens; oSophisticated wall oven & cooktop kitchen concept; o Glass tile backsplash in dove white or grey; oDouble under-mounted sink; oUnder-counter custom wine rack feature; oCustom cabinetry with soft-stop close and satin nickel pulls.