Capital Pointe: The Happening

Regina’s most epic empty lot gets a great photo op

by Vanda Schmöckel

nw0530

After years of nothing but tattered signage, illegal parking, and unshoveled sidewalks, something’s finally happening around the Capital Pointe site at Victoria and Albert — though, technically, not on it.

Sask Power has begun the process of moving an electrical duct (work that has to be completed in order for construction to begin on Capital Pointe itself) and traffic is being temporarily rerouted around the area. Naturally, while Sask Power’s subcontractor was beavering away, the developers correctly identified this moment as a good an excuse for a photo-op. Which is what happened May 22, when the developers, BrightStar Corporation, made a “major media announcement” on the Capital Pointe site.

In the end, that announcement wasn’t so much about construction as it was about their new partnership with Augustine Group, a developer based in Niagara Falls.

BrightStar’s VP and Capital Pointe’s project director Greg Black said that they’d taken the project “as far as they could” and had arrived at a point where they felt they had to bring a new team on board to start construction.

According to Brian Tilley, Augustine Group’s VP of sales and marketing, they are now the controlling shareholder of Capital Pointe. Tilley expects construction to start on the site after Sask Power is finished with their electrical infrastructure work — in about five months — with occupancy anticipated for Fall 2015.

In terms of how the Capital Pointe development itself has progressed, however, it doesn’t appear that much has changed. According to Tilley, the development is still only 40 per cent sold, and they have yet to secure a buyer for the hotel – though they say they are in serious negotiations with five interested parties and should be making an announcement about the hotel in late June.

They also announced that they will make 36 new units available, starting at $189,000. These are being sold as studio suites, and will result in the development having a total of 180 residential suites, and 144 hotel rooms.

“All the less expensive suites sold out very quickly on the first launch,” Tilley said. “We believe, with the affordability of that price, and what rent prices are here — it’s crazy how high the rent is here — that product will be very, very affordable.”

Are they concerned about the lower price point of these units affecting the “luxury brand” of Capital Pointe? After all, when the development was first announced, they were selling units starting at $260,000, and running upwards to $3 million.

“No,” Tilley said. “Because I think, at that price, even for the lower units, it’s still a luxury condominium.”

When one of the reporters assembled questioned whether construction had really started in earnest — because it’s Sask Power that is doing all the heavy lifting at the moment, not Augustine or BrightStar, Tilley responded: “Well, I see trucks moving dirt, and to me, that’s construction.  We had to pay for this work to be done,” he said. “We’re not paying money to put a duct bank in if we’re not going to start construction.”

He declined to disclose how much Sask Power has been paid to start this electrical work, but according to a statement from Sask Power last fall, the developers had to pay a deposit to start this infrastructure work, not the entire amount.

So… something’s happening at the Capital Pointe site.

And, as usual, we’ll find out what it’ll mean in a few months time.

2013-05-30