UPDATE: The sale to the new owners closed earlier this summer; they plan to continue the development as per the approved plans, rather than start the approval process from scratch. Building could start up again in the next 6-8 months.
- Construction on Reverie Quarters has been on hold since late 2013.
- New owners expected to take over stalled condo project this spring.
- Two units were sold but both buyers have been refunded.
The Reverie Quarters condo project on Stittsville Main Street could finally be moving forward again this year. A deal is expected to close in April that would see a new firm take over the project, which has been on hold since late 2013.
In an interview with StittsvilleCentral.ca, Akash Sinha, president of Dharma Developments, said that the current ownership group, MAASive Corporation, is working on an agreement to sell the development to a Toronto company.
“They’ll probably re-brand it and hit the market with something different first, before they proceed with any further construction.,” says Sinha. “The building has not been abandoned. I’ve personally been going out there regularly and have a couple people check on it every so often, so it’s being cared for as best as possible under the circumstances until the new owners take over.”
Dharma’s involvement with the development was as a project manager, working with the owners to acquire the property, get all the approvals needed, and manage the construction.
“Dharma as an entity did not have any ownership in the project. Unfortunately with the project stalling, it means that Dharma’s not involved with it either. Dharma is equally as disappointed that the project is not moving forward, the same way the community is,” he says.
The development was criticized by some community members during the planning process over concerns about building heights, insufficient parking and increased traffic the development might cause. The approval of the project in 2010 prompted city councillor Shad Qadri to ask City planning staff to initiate a Community Design Plan (CDP) for Stittsville Main Street that is still ongoing.
The plans for Reverie call for 24 stacked townhouse units over six blocks, plus another building fronting Stittsville Main Street. Only one of those blocks has been built so far.
The condos were marketed as “walkable, sociable & sustainable”, in a location that would let residents walk instead of taking the car. Dharma hosted a community barbecue at the Legion next door and offered discounts to Stittsville Legion members. Regular updates were posted to a blog from the start of construction in March 2013 up until late November of the same year.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Sinha says slow sales were ultimately to blame. Only two of the units were sold, but both of those buyers had all of their money refunded.
“Nobody’s hanging. It’s not impacting any customers. Thankfully that part is not an issue,” said Sinha.
“The biggest reason was market conditions and the way the product was priced, it just wasn’t moving. Price point wise, they were advertising $340,000. That just proved to be too much for the type of product that it was and the area that it is,” he said.
Sinha, an urban planner, has been developing properties in Stittsville through his company for over a decade, starting with the Powers Enclave project, a small collection of red townhomes west of Fernbank Road.
“I’ve been coming to Stittsville for 12 years now, and I’ve seen it transform a lot. I think transportation into and through Stittsville Main Street continues to be an issue, and it impedes the downtown core from developing the way it should,” he says.
“I see a lot of foot traffic happening, they just need more places to go and more stops in between. It’s a very close-knit community that would benefit from having people able to interact together on the streets,” he says.
Sinha will be glad to see the Reverie Quarters project finally moving forward again.
“It’s what growing village centres like this need. I wholeheartedly believe that. Seeing it stalled is heartbreaking. I am happy to know at least that the new owners taking over intend to carry on with the vision of the project,” he says.
“The biggest focus is to push this project forward and to help see Stittsville grow and develop as it should.”