85-unit apartment building proposed for the heart of Charlottetown

People may soon be able to have their say about an eight-storey, 85-unit apartment building in the heart of Charlottetown, as the project makes it way toward public consultation.

At a committee meeting Wednesday, Charlottetown's planning board recommended unanimously that city council send the apartment building proposal to the public consultation stage.

City staff say the building would provide plenty of new units in the core of downtown Charlottetown — in line with the city's long-awaited new official plan, which will favour high-density housing builds.

The new building would replace 149-151 Great George Street, including the building where the Hearts and Flowers florist shop is located, right beside Dow's Fashions on the outer rim of the Confederation Court Mall.

A Google Street View image of 149 and 151 Great George St., located at the intersection with Kent Street.
A Google Street View image of 149 and 151 Great George St., located at the intersection with Kent Street. (Google)

The building would continue to have commercial space on the ground floor, but the commercial space on the second floor of the existing building would disappear. Apartments would be featured from the second to the eighth floors.

In documents provided to planning board members before Wednesday's meeting, planning staff highlighted only one potential downside to the project: increased traffic in the downtown area.

Overall, though, planning staff are "of the opinion that the project has merit as well as strong potential to provide additional and much-needed housing supply within the downtown core," the meeting package says.

Planning board chair Alanna Jankov said she couldn't speak to this specific project since it's still in the early stages.

She did say that people can expect to see more high-density building proposals like this as Prince Edward Island's housing crisis drags on.

The proposed 85-unit building would be roughly on the corner of Great George and Kent Street.
A wider view of the proposed site of an 85-unit apartment building on the corner of Great George and Kent Street. (Cody MacKay/CBC)

"We have our draft official plan coming forward in September, and that's identified the corridors and the nodes where we would be densifying," Jankov said.

"With our population growth, it goes without saying we don't really have a lot of choice. People need to live somewhere … so therefore we do need more densification and we need more housing."

Public could be consulted this fall

The company behind the proposal is HIG LP Management Inc., and local directors include John Cudmore, Kendrick Banks, and Richard and Phillip Homburg.

A rendering of the proposed eight-storey, 85-unit apartment building on Great George Street in Charlottetown.
Another rendering of the proposed eight-storey building, which will have commercial space on the ground floor and apartments above. (HIG LP Management Inc)

The developers didn't have anyone available to comment Wednesday.

In a statement, Banks, who is the CFO of Homburg Group, said they're "excited about the project and the possibility of bringing quality housing to downtown Charlottetown."

But first, councillors will have to vote on whether to send the proposal to public consultation.

If council does that, Jankov expects people will be given a chance to share their opinions on the project as early as this fall.