Library Square booked to go

Pre-sales begin next month for a major North Shore development that's breaking new ground in construction and offering property tax exemptions outside the downtown core.

Library Square developer Casey VanDongen said Wednesday a sales office will go in Northills Mall. The residential project is marketed by Best West Realty.

"We're hoping to be out to the market in 10 days or so," said VanDongen, who is completing discussions with the City on an airspace subdivision because the building mixes a library, commercial and residential units.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the developer came to terms last year for the project anchored by a new North Kamloops library, called Library Square. It is designed to feature 150 residential units in three phases as well as commercial space.

Fifty-six of those units are expected go on pre-sale next month. The smallest studio unit is about $109,000 while VanDongen said an average price for a typical unit is about $275,000.

"I think the market will be good," he said. "There hasn't been any new stuff on the North Shore. There's a fair waiting list at Cottonwoods (North Kamloops Seniors Housing Co-op)."

The proposed building will be a five-story wood structure on top of the concrete library. Provincial building code amendments introduced this year allow the structure that earlier would have required an all-concrete or steel building.

Use of wood will help the Interior's lumber market, through pioneering use in condominium construction of this style, as well as help buyer affordability, he said.

VanDongen said market research has shown there is a large population of seniors on the North Shore, many of them looking to downsize to an area that is flat and central to shopping and services.

The project will offer residents a 10-year tax holiday on the City of Kamloops portion of their property taxes. The incentive to build residential units was first used in the downtown and was only recently made available to the North Shore.

"The city really wants that density in the core area. That's the heart of North Kamloops right now."

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