Developer seeks approval for luxury Sackville apartments on former United Church property

Tenants in the new Lafford building would have a view of the Waterfowl Park

Sackville developer JN Lafford Realty Inc. is asking the town to rezone a small part of the former United Church property at Main and York Streets to allow for construction of a $6 million luxury apartment building for tenants over 55.

John Lafford says the three- to four-storey building, the third one on the site, would contain at least 28 apartments and possibly as many as 36 depending on how much underground parking he could build.

Most of the two-bedroom units would be 1,250 square feet with monthly rents ranging from $1,250 to $1,700. About 85 per cent of the apartments would overlook the Mount Allison campus, the Swan Pond and the Waterfowl Park.

“It’s a unique spot to be able to showcase that view,” Lafford said today during a telephone interview.

“We’re investing $6 million because of the location,” he added. “You couldn’t build another building like that anywhere else in Sackville.”

Rezoning application

Lafford says most of the property is already zoned for mixed use, but he’s asking the town for a zoning change on a small portion to be able to position the building in a way that would make it more attractive.

“We could go ahead and build a building there without any [zoning] approval, but it wouldn’t look so great on the site,” he says.

“The reason why we’re asking for a little piece that is already [zoned] institutional is just to make our development look more complete and be able to keep a little more greenery, more trees.”

Lafford acknowledges that some birch trees would need to be removed during construction, but says the company intends to replace those trees because upscale tenants want greenery.

“It’s not to our advantage to have a bunch of pavement around the building,” he says.

“This project is directed toward people who will be here for five to 10 years and for us, it’s a 30 to 40 year investment.”

Demand for upscale apartments

Lafford predicts there will be strong demand for his apartments, partly based on the fact that there’s already a waiting list for the 11 large 1,150 square-foot units the company owns on Waterfowl Lane across from the booster pumping station on Main Street.

He also notes that New Brunswick’s older population is expected to quadruple by 2051 and this project would allow Sackville to attract people to spend money in downtown businesses.

“I think that’s a win-win for myself as a developer, I create a demand; I think for the town it’s wonderful — it gives them a tax base as well as being able to advertise to that group of people; and the provincial government also gets a nice chunk of the success of my buildings.”

Town Council is expected to discuss Lafford’s rezoning application at its next meeting on Tuesday.

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7 Responses to Developer seeks approval for luxury Sackville apartments on former United Church property

  1. Marika says:

    Why even bother having an application? We already know full well what the decision will be.

    Not that there’s anything wrong in and of being developer-friendly. The problem with Sackville is that Town Council isn’t fully consistent. Let’s remember the Ultramar drive-through, for one of many examples…

    • Alan Barbour says:

      The Ultramar drive-through? The Town spent $30,000 on a consultant study which recommended a $600,000 spend on a development at exit 506. The town staff is currently working on implementing this plan to spend $600,000, and drive-throughs are certainly a cornerstone of the plan. Marika, I do not think the drive-through is a good example of the town being un-friendly to development, quite the opposite actually.

      • Marika says:

        Not letting the Ultramar owners set up a drive-through donut shop is what I’m referring to.

        That plan would have cost the town NOTHING and could easily have increased through traffic / shopping by a lot. There was no downside. But no permit, with the justification being some environmental rubbish about idling cars. Who will be idling for longer at the other exit, if that were truly the concern.

      • Wendy Alder says:

        I just came back from a Town Council meeting, the Town is not implementing this plan, there would be no money spent until at least 2019 and that’s if it meets the budget cuts. We made application to amend a bylaw (cost to us of $1500). We simply wanted to add drive-thrus to the existing bylaw and it was turned down. Lots of environmental concerns from at least two councillors. Other concerns were that exit 506 would develop the same way 504 did and have nightmare traffic issues, hence the study. Talking to a councillor tonight, he says it’s a 10 year plan! Hopefully the NS company that purchased the property across from us will have some private development and bring some actual business to town. When I asked about implementation tonight, it was clear there would be no $ spent until at least 2019 because there’s no money in the budget for it. There are some policy changes that can be done but it didn’t sound like that was going to happen any time soon either UNLESS someone brought forward a development proposal. So….If I wanted to pay another $1500 to try and change the bylaw then maybe they would change it but there’s still a risk that the drive-thru ban would continue.

  2. Rima Azar says:

    Dear Marika, I can only agree with you about Gas Bar Untramar’s station. Because other drive-throughs are envisioned for the same Exit 506 (Bridge Street), all this appears like double-standard treatment (even for businesses within the same side of town :). I would like to believe, and naively I do think, that discrimination (or rather favouritism) is not the initial intention of our town. If that is genuinely the case, for the sake of equal business opportunities to all entrepreneurs, I wonder if the Town of Sackville may perhaps consider lifting the drive-thru ban?

    • Wendy Alder says:

      Hoping the NS company that bought the property across from the Ultramar will put in a development plan which includes drive-thrus and brings new business to town. Hopefully other businesses as well, there’s a good chunk of land there.

      • Rima Azar says:

        I join my voice to yours: Let’s hope for the best.
        It would be fantastic to see Sackville booming!

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