Tippy Mah won’t be building Mah’s Point 2 at the corner of Strickland Street and Second Avenue.
The developer announced on June 13 that the condo complex didn’t reach the pre-sale objective required by lenders.
Carel Alexander, business manager for Mah, told the News the objective was to sell half the 44 units (four of which were penthouse suites), but that number wasn’t met.
Alexander said there have also been other competing developments which undercut the business case for Mah’s Point 2. She declined to name those projects.
Pat Ross, manager of land and building services with the City of Whitehorse, said the only comparable downtown development he was aware of is River’s Reach — a 44-unit complex on the waterfront.
Alexander also said the timeframe for construction was tight because of the nature of building in the Yukon, where the weather can dictate building schedules.
“Your days are numbered once the snow starts flying,” said Ross. “As most will tell you, you have a short window to really get a project of this size up and running.”
He said there’s no formal investment lost on the city’s part. So far, city staff had only done an initial review of the plan and provided comments and feedback on deficiencies. Ross declined to comment on what those were, though he said there was nothing significant.
“They always said up front that they were laying the groundwork to be in a position to get their permits in place to develop but it was always conditional on favorable presales,” said Ross.
At this point, he said the city will maintain the file as active for six months. If Mah’s plans change, the file can be re-opened as long as the plan doesn’t change.
Ross said it isn’t common that developers suspend projects. It’s more common in the fall, he said, when people are trying to get something done quickly and they realize there’s more work than they thought.
He also said the proposal met many of the planning criteria the city strives for in the downtown in terms of the look and feel of a concrete and steel building, which would have been eight storeys tall, but with stepped-back upper floors, so it wouldn’t form a sheer vertical wall from street level.
Mah would not speak to the News, but Alexander said he was disappointed.
“He’s been investing in the Yukon for 40 years,” she said.
“He successfully built Mah’s Point 1, but that was a few years ago and costs have risen.”
Mah built the original Mah’s Point building at Second Avenue and Jarvis. It opened in 2011, with 52 units.
Alexander said Mah doesn’t currently have any other development plans in the immediate future.
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org