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Town of Princeton pitches housing boom at airport

Developers are being courted to build more than 160 units in $100 million project
The town owns approximately 80 acres of developable land near the airport. Photo Town of Princeton

The Town of Princeton has some high-flying plans to increase available housing by more than 10 per cent.

A subdivision at the airport is being pitched to developers, in a partnership arrangement with the municipality.

Noting there is a zero occupancy rate for rentals, Mayor Spencer Coyne told the Spotlight a successful deal could be a game changer for the entire town.

“This is a bigger project than any of us are really used to,” said Coyne, who added the idea is to build more than 160 units with a total value of more than $100 million.

The town owns approximately 80 acres of land surrounding the airport, which has been considered for housing for at least 20 years.

On Feb. 14, the municipality published a request for Expressions of Interest, asking developers to bring forth their proposals, and there have already been discussions with interested parties.

“We are under a lot of pressure to try to build more houses, and we keep saying it’s not our job to build houses. It’s our job to provide the atmosphere,” Coyne said.

The town is committing to holding the property, that would be developed in phases by one firm, and then will recoup a percentage of the proceeds as each house sells. Submissions are due April 11.

The project was to be rolled out at the end of last year, but was temporarily put aside following the November flood.

There are requirements, including that a plan must allow for some houses with airplane hangers. There should be plans for parks, green initiatives, and the ski trail already in the area must be incorporated. Coyne said he also believes local developers may be able to select a certain number of lots for their own opportunities.

The town is unsure of what kind of affordable housing might be created.

“Let’s face it, these are going to be new homes and new homes are not going to be cheap. What hopefully will happen is there will be a ripple effect. So someone living in a small home, maybe they want to sell and move to a bigger home…It’s all about putting more stock in the market,” Coyne said.

He said the mix of housing could include single family homes, as well as apartments or townhouses. “If we get proposals I think this will be an exciting time for Princeton.”

Related: Council eyes airpark proposal for Princeton

Related: Lack of inventory continues to drive up Okanagan home prices

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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