Ten high-end senior apartments going up downtown

Most already spoken for, says developer


A local builder says his plan to erect 10 bungalow-style apartments downtown has attracted a pile of attention – before the ground is even broken.

Harley Johnson, who purchased what was previously the Co-op Lumber site, says he got zoning permission in mid-May from the municipality to go ahead and build his row of bungalow level apartments on Mountain Avenue.

The site measures 250 feet by 120 feet, and constitutes five town lots. Johnson’s project will run him around $2 million to build, he says.

“They are all going to be for seniors, and most of them have been spoken for,” said Johnson. “Seven people signed up before we left last Saturday for Ottawa. We have several names left, and we haven’t advertised at all.”

Johnson, who is currently shingling his daughter’s house in Ontario, says he hopes to get started on the project as soon as he returns.

“We are just getting ready to go,” he said. “I’m hoping to start next month. It should take around eight months, and we hope to have them ready by the New Year.”

Plans are to build ten high-end, 1200-square-foot bungalow-level apartments, of frame construction, with an attached garage on each, he said.

A four-foot crawl space would be underneath, and the apartments would be rented out at around $1,600 per month, including all bills except telephone and TV.

Johnson said he was a little surprised at the early interest, although he was confident from the beginning that it was a good idea.

“We built Johnson Terrace in 1998, and we thought this one would be popular too,” he said. “It seems that seniors like a maintenance-free apartment with no headaches. And a lot of them like a one-storey apartment with their own entrance.”

While his residences will be high-end, he added that demand will remain for this kind of housing for people on a fixed or lower income.

“I think these are fairly expensive,” said Johnson. “There’s still a shortage of these kind of homes for people on a low income.”

NEW FACE FOR MOUNTAIN AVENUE – These five lots, formerly the Co-op Lumber area, will be transformed over the coming year into 10 bungalow-style apartments for seniors, by building contractor Harley Johnson. He’s already got tenants lined up for most of them – and plans on creating up-market homes for these future Mountain Avenue residents.