A stalled Vernon development may be moving ahead again.
New owners are in place at The Rise on Bella Vista Road and they have given the green light to infrastructure improvements and a feasibility study to renew building activity in the Belago subdivision.
“We are finally turning the corner and ready to move the project forward,” said Steven Reilly, board chairperson.
Construction began at The Rise in 2005 but the property was put up for sale in 2008 because of the economic slowdown affecting sales.
The property continues to be on the market, but as part of restructuring, former mortgage holders are now shareholders.
“If the right buyer comes along, then we would consider that. In the meantime, we have to move along with the development project,” said Bruce McRitchie, board secretary.
“We’ve been able to go back to the initial investors and generate some money and we’ve been able to negotiate high-priced debt down to low-priced debt.”
The company continues under the name of YK Projects and while no longer an owner, original president Leona Snider is an employee.
“It’s a very good project. Leona had a dream, and it’s a beautiful dream,” said McRitchie.
“It could be a jewel in the Okanagan.”
Financing is currently being put together for the Belago subdivision, which could begin construction in the spring.
“The market is not the market it was four years ago. The city wants more mixed housing uses so we have to make some adjustments,” said McRitchie.
The board recently met with City of Vernon council members and staff.
“They are very experienced and committed investors and they understand that this is a long-term turnaround,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.
“They are realists and they realize the market has changed. They will have to commit more money to get their original money out.”
Sawatzky is hopeful work at The Rise will proceed.
“It’s never good for the community to have a vacant development just sitting,” he said.
The Rise board has also met with The Rise Community Association, management of the golf course and local realtors.