HomeBanks proposes new Seniors complex

Banks proposes new Seniors complex

Sep 5 2001

Developer Tim Banks is pitching a 50 unit seniors' housing complex for the Brighton area in Charlottetown. Banks said Tuesday his APM group is proposing working with the PEI government and the city of Charlottetown in a "public-private partnership" to create a housing complex exclusively for seniors.

He said the proposed site - a 4.4 acre provincial owned vacant lot Government Drive adjacent to the Jones Building parking lot - is more appropriate for a seniors' complex than the site of the Eric Found Centre on McGill Avenue. Banks has been locking horns with the Martin Group over developing the Eric Found Centre site.

Banks wants to tear down the McGill Avenue building to build on 19 single family residential lots. The Martin Group wants to construct a $3-million "seniors friendly" complex that would house 50 apartment units. Banks said the Brighton site is ideal for the proposed 3.5 million seniors' housing complex. "Seniors prefer to be within walking distance of the downtown amenities such as banks, drug stores, doctors' offices and health services while living in a familiar residential neighborhood," he said.

Banks said the Martin Group can't guarantee that its proposed complex for McGill Avenue would only house seniors. "As a private developer, I couldn't go along and take the Eric Found Centre and just say that it is a seniors' building because that is against the human rights regulations here on Prince Edward Island as it is anywhere," he said.

Banks admitted the timing of his announcement Tuesday was strategic. "I wouldn't have made it as quickly but I was going to make it anyway," he said when asked if he would have made the proposal if the Martin Group had not come forward with a competing plan for the Eric Found Centre site. Ron Martin of the Martin Group said he is confident his proposal for the Eric Found Centre has far greater public support than the APM proposal. "Every day people are coming up to me and they are suggesting that the building not come down," said Martin.

"I would suggest that APM should pull their proposal for the Eric Found Centre." Martin said he had no comment concerning Banks' proposed seniors housing complex Tuesday. "I'll just let people see it for what it is," he said. "I'm more concerned about what is happening up here (at the Eric Found Centre)".

Banks said his proposed plan for a complex in the Brighton area could be strictly a seniors' housing complex if the appropriate arrangement was struck with the municipal and provincial governments. "We could develop this particular site (to be) site-specific for seniors and the way the agreement would work is the province would underwrite it that the building itself could only be used for seniors' housing and they have within their legislation the ability to do that," he said.

Banks stood on the property alongside developers and next to an architect's conceptual drawing of the complex as he heralded the attributes of the proposed project. "We are proposing a brand new structure with all the amenitities that seniors are telling us they are interested in," he said in a statement distributed to the media.

"We will have a fitness centre, meeting rooms, patios, security entrances and an elevator. The building will be designed to fit the character of the Brighton neighbourhood, but more important, it will be functional for those seniors who have mobility challenges, such as using a wheelchair.

Media Contact: MediaReleases@apm.ca