Qualicum Beach residents might want to take one more long look at the dilapidated state of the old College Inn, because it’s about to change — and for the better.
That’s because the Town of Qualicum Beach this week issued a building permit for the development of 40 high-end condominium units at the site — to be renamed College Heights.
Dean Pomeroy owns Pomeroy Restoration and Construction Ltd., the company redeveloping the old College Inn site and he said he couldn’t be happier to be able to finally move forward on the project.
“It’s hard to believe. It has been almost six years,” he said. “It’s been quite a process we hadn’t planned on.”
Pomeroy said the building permit is for the first phase of the project, which includes 20 units, many of which will be housed in the historic boys college building.
“It’s mainly the heritage building now, and the most easterly of the building,” Pomeroy said. “The other phases will be 12 units and then eight.”
The old college building, which has been declared a heritage building by the municipality, will retain much of its current look on the exterior, but will include four two-storey units on the second and third floors, a main amenity space for resident and public use, meeting rooms, two hotel-style one bedroom suites for visitor use, a kitchen and barbecue dining area on two floors.
“We have a community use agreement put in place that allows the use of the main floor and some lower floor areas of the heritage building,” Pomeroy said. “The meeting rooms, kitchen, barbecue area and outside deck can be used by the community. We’ve got a lot of the old college memorabilia, such as pictures and the old cane and we are going to take the old crest into the main entry of the heritage building. The heritage designation is just for the outside, but we want to bring it inside, too.”
The new buildings to be constructed at the site will somewhat reflect the style of the original building, with heavy timber features at the entry ways, balcony and roof areas, as well as heavy timber construction for exterior arbors and trellises and stone facing on the ground floor.
The units won’t come cheap, ranging in price from $555,000 on the low end to almost $1.4 million for a penthouse. The units are all large, he added, in the range of 1,900 square feet.
Despite the price, Pomeroy said interest has been strong already, even though the marketing campaign hasn’t even kicked off.
“We’ve got quite a lot of pre-registrations and we hope those are going to translate into sales,” Pomeroy said. “We roll out the major marketing campaign today, sending packages to Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
That’s important, because construction can’t begin until at least nine of the units are sold. However, Pomeroy is confident he won’t have any trouble making that goal in relatively short order.
“We are in the process of tendering the project,” he said. “We have all the plans in now and the tender closes on Dec. 15.”
Once the first shovel bites into the earth, Pomeroy estimated it will take between 16 and 18 months to complete the first phase.
Pomeroy said the project, once completed, will prove to be a financial boon to Qualicum Beach.
“I think it’s a huge tax base,” he said.
He acknowledged there was a fair amount of opposition to the redevelopment, but stressed that all issues had to be dealt with in order to secure the building permit. He noted as well that there were many who supported his team right from the beginning.
“It was a tough road and there were a lot of people who were against the project, but a lot of people were for it.”