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New apartment building planned at former Queen’s Arms Motel site

A new apartment building is planned for 20 and 22 Lower Malpeque Road, on the site of what was formerly known as the Queen’s Arms Motel. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)
A new apartment building is planned for 20 and 22 Lower Malpeque Road, on the site of what was formerly known as the Queen’s Arms Motel. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC – image credit) 

A new six-storey, 74-unit apartment building is being planned at the site of the old Queen’s Arms Motel site on Lower Malpeque Road in Charlottetown.

Coun. Terry MacLeod, chair of the planning committee, told CBC News Tuesday evening that the existing building would be demolished. He clarified Wednesday morning that, in fact, the new development would be constructed behind the existing building.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, councillors approved a major variance to allow the new apartment building, which will be about 4.5 metres higher than what is currently allowed, at 20 and 22 Lower Malpeque Road.

The old motel was recently converted into long-term rentals and currently houses 67 tenants, co-owner Kirk MacKinnon said Wednesday morning.

‘It’s a good fit’

MacLeod said the project will help the severe shortage of affordable housing in the capital city.

Wayne Thibodeau/CBC
Wayne Thibodeau/CBC 

“It’s a project where it’s close to schools, it’s close to buses,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily that everyone has a car, and some people don’t want to have one, so transit goes right by there as well so it’s a good fit.”

Empire Development Inc. said 33 of of the units would be designated affordable.

‘Staggering high’

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown said the Malpeque Road plans continues record-breaking development in the city, including $180-million worth two years ago and $160-million last year.

Wayne Thibodeau/CBC
Wayne Thibodeau/CBC 

“Staggering high,” said Brown. “There is a lot of development going on in the city.”

It’s good news for the city and the province but creates challenges as the city tries to keep up with development, he said.

“It has to keep pace on infrastructure, sidewalk construction, active transportation pathways, roads, streets, our transit system,” he said.

“There will be more demands.”

‘We could find no other’

Twenty-two letters were sent out to property owners in the area regarding the Malpeque Road development.

City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown 

Only one resident wrote back with concerns, from nearby Nellie Drive.

“We took a drive around the city in the past few days and were able to find only one other example of a six-storey apartment building — this being in the downtown core. Obviously, we could find no other examples in the West Royalty area,” the resident wrote.

Although planning staff recognize it is a “considerable variance request”, in its recommendation to city council it said “given the current demand for affordable housing within the city and its proximity to amenities, it is staff’s opinion that a multi-unit development could be considered appropriate to be constructed on this property.”

The city’s approval is contingent on a traffic study as well as a watershed management plan.

The property sits next to MacNeil’s Pond. The city also wants to ensure there is a tree-lined buffer zone between the development and McNeil’s Pond, MacLeod said.

“McNeil’s Pond, the watershed, is a beautiful piece of water there,” he said.

“We want to make sure it is protected and so does the developer. They’ve stated that quite clearly in their reports.”

The property slopes at the back, so the building will include five storeys facing Lower Malpeque Road, with six storeys at the back.

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Credit belongs to : ca.news.yahoo.com

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