New Era Looming on Waterfront

  • April 15 2014 – Journal Pioneer – by COLIN MACLEAN

SUMMERSIDE — There are plans afoot to build a 40 unit condominium/retail development on Summerside’s waterfront. Summerside Capital Inc. is in negotiations to build the estimated $8-million project on a small parcel of land between Spinnaker’s Landing and the Eptek Centre.

Mark Wilson, president of the company, said he’s excited to be working in Summerside.

He sees a lot of untapped potential is here.

“I like Summerside because all the developers and builders aren’t bumping into each other here. I think there’s a lot of room for growth . . . and I think people are just waiting for something to happen,” said Wilson.

“There’s so much happening in Charlottetown — I’ll let the others fight over that.”

Wilson said his design plans could still change, but he currently expects units to start at $165,000 and go up from there.

The current plans call for first-floor indoor parking, four penthouses and ground-floor retail and restaurant space. The current plans would also maintain the public walkway currently in place around the outline of the property.

Spinnakers’ Landing would remain largely as is, though some of the smaller shops set off from the main building would be relocated to the other side of the property.

The landing is home to many seasonal shops and is owned by the Summerside Port Corporation, which bought it last year. Wilson’s company has been managing the property on its behalf for the past year and are contracted to do so again this year.

Originally from Collingwood, Ont., Wilson has been doing business in P.E.I. off and on for about six years.

He is also the developer of The Gables of P.E.I. Resort in Stanley Bridge and has developed several other projects in his hometown of Collingwood and in other parts of Canada.

Wilson said he’s hopeful to have all the final arrangements in place so construction of the project can start later this year — though there are still a number of issues that need to be ironed out before he breaks ground.

Arnold Croken, president of the Summerside Port Corporation, confirmed Monday that his group is working with Wilson to finalize a long-term lease, or some other type of ownership agreement.

He expected a decision on that before the start of the tourist season later this spring. If this project goes ahead it would be one of the largest of its kind in Summerside.

The city is certainly no stranger to condo developments. Over the past number of years, several older buildings along Water Street have been converted to the condo units and more developments are in the advanced planning or marketing stages.

However, previous developers have run into problems with not being able to quickly find buyers for their products. Some units have been on the market for years.

That apparent stagnation of the market is something that Wilson said he’s aware of, but it doesn’t worry him enough not to move ahead with his project.

“I think we’re going to be OK, but again, we never want to underestimate the market,” he said.

“Whoever is writing the cheque for the unit, they’re the ones who are going to say whether we’re right or wrong,” he said.