Receiver takes over management of Forest View Suites from owners who are unable to pay their debts

Polar Bear Properties Ltd. and 5409676 Manitoba Ltd. owe nearly $25 million, including $1.5 million to the City of Thompson

The company that owns Forest View Suites, better known by its former name of Princeton Towers, has been placed into receivership because it is unable to pay back money it borrowed to run the apartments.

Ernst & Young was appointed by the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench as the receiver of the assets of Polar Bear Properties Ltd. and Manitoba numbered company 5409676 Manitoba Ltd, which have owned the apartment buildings at 364 and 424 Princeton Drive since 2009, after a July 31 hearing.

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Forest View Suites consists of 275 apartment units in two buildings. Polar Bear Properties Ltd. and 5409676 Manitoba Ltd. owe nearly $25 million to creditors and said that as of July 31 they had about $65,000 in cash, $170,000 in accounts receivable, and $28.5 million in the form of the buildings and property, though the Manitoba Municipal Relations property assessment of the buildings for 2019 values the land at $812,500 and the buildings at $15,689,100.

Most of the money that Polar Bear Properties owes is to the Royal Bank of Canada – a total of $23,130,300. The City of Thompson is owed $1,364,424 in unpaid property taxes, $115,748 for water bills, and another $19,232 worth of unspecified debts. The owners also owe Thompson Fire & Emergency Services $8,004 and Manitoba Hydro $193,739. Other companies and organizations owed money include Armour Management, which manages the properties, Bell MTS, the Impact Security Group, Northern Laundry, Shaw Cable, the Thompson Recycle Centre, Wilson’s Business Solutions and the Thompson Citizen and Nickel Belt News.

In a list of frequently asked questions on Ernst & Young’s website, the receiver explains that receiverships are a way for secured creditors (such as the bank that holds a mortgage on a property) to recover amounts they are owed in the event the company defaults on its loan payments.

“To put it simply, the Debtors financed the acquisition of the Suites with debt and have been unable to meet the repayment terms with their lender. The Receiver will assume the role of executive management of the Debtors and expects to carry on operations of the Suites seamlessly and without interruption to residents. Residents are not required nor does the Receiver recommend that residents pursue alternative living arrangements.”

Ernst & Young says specific inquiries from residents should be directed to management onsite or emailed to service@armourmanagement.ca.

As receiver, Ernst & Young’s duties include continuing the management of the suites under the current property manager or another one without interruption to current and future residents, as well as the job of administering the process to sell Forest View Suites in an orderly and transparent basis under court supervision.

Debts are frozen at the amounts they were as of July 31.

Polar Bear Properties acquired Princeton Towers in early 2009 from the Sheiner Group, a Montreal-based real estate investment firm, and Silver Management Group Ltd, an Ottawa-based residential and commercial property management company. Those companies had purchased the towers less than two years earlier, on April 2, 2007. Polar Bear Properties attempted to sell off individual one- and two-bedroom apartments as condominiums for $164,900 and $184,900, respectively, in 2009.

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