The owner of Kamloops’ newest rental apartment building believes ongoing housing development in Kamloops could boost the minuscule rental vacancy rate.
“We believe the vacancy rate could potentially be somewhere [between] at least five and 10 per cent in a year or two depending on how many people move to Kamloops,” said Jason Fawcett, vice-president of operations for the Kelson Group.
As of its October 2018 report, the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation pegged the rental vacancy rate in Kamloops at about 1.3 per cent for private buildings with three or more apartments.
Fawcett told KTW that between his company’s and other construction projects in town, an additional 1,000 apartments will hit the Kamloops market over the next two years — representing a 30 per cent increase in supply.
“It’s going to have, we believe, a big impact on the market and it’s going to be very beneficial for renters,” Fawcett said.
“Every new building will add choice and that is positive for the market.”
Kelson Group will account for 200 of those apartments between its ongoing development at Thompson Rivers University and Peterson Landing, the 110-suite rental building it just completed on the site of the former Sports Central Lounge on Summit Drive in Sahali.
On Friday, Fawcett and other members of the Kamloops-based property-management company celebrated the opening of the building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside dignitaries and residents of the building.
“The type of residents that have moved into the building are everyone, from students to working people to empty nesters to seniors,” Fawcett said at the ceremony.
Dubbed Peterson Landing for its proximity to Peterson Creek, every apartment in the building is now rented, having been filled over the course of the last few months, Fawcett said.
The suites range in size from 500 square feet to 1,200 square feet and feature bachelor, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites, he said.
Rent ranges from about $1,000 to $2,200 depending on the size of the apartment and view, Fawcett said.
“We’ve built it and we will continue to own and manage the building,” Fawcett said.
The apartment units feature energy-efficient windows and stainless-steel appliances. The building is equipped with amenities, including in-suite laundry, a terraced community garden, a gazebo, a landscaped green space, a fitness centre and underground and surface parking.
Some features, such as the landscaping, remain have yet to be completed.
Fawcett lauded the short, six-month time frame it took to obtain a building permit from the City of Kamloops.
“That is unheard of in the province,” said Fawcett.
Dave Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC, was in attendance for the opening and said rental housing is critical.
“It’s been neglected in terms of the number of units built for 40 years. We’re finally starting to see some really good traction in terms of folks like the Kelson Group building more housing,” Hutniak said.
Peterson Landing is one of a number of developments Kelson Group has in the works in Kamloops.
A 56,000-square-foot, four-storey rental building the company is building as part of The Reach village at Thompson Rivers University is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2019, and is now in the framing stage.
“It might all depend on what type of weather we have over the winter,” Fawcett said. “So far, it’s been good.”
Kelson Group is also planning to develop downtown properties it purchased in 2017 along Battle and Nicola streets between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
“We’re not certain where we’re going to start downtown and we might build another building at the Reach,” Fawcett said.
He said the Kelson Group wants to complete ongoing projects before doing more work on its multi-phase downtown development.