Two hotels being built, but no housing starts for Thompson in first quarter

While work on two hotels - Yellowknife developer Tony Chang's Best Western on Mystery Lake Road and Winnipeg hotelier Angelo Paletta's Accommodations North Suburban Extended Stay on Moak Crescent - is proceeding at a brisk spring pace, there were no single detached new home housing starts in Thompson during the first quarter of 2011, says Winnipeg-based Dianne Himbeault, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) senior market analyst for the Prairie and Territories Region.

The two hotel projects, however, will add almost 150 new hotel rooms to the city's inventory, making for close to 600 hotel rooms at 10 hotels in Thompson when the two new ones open later this year. When the city was developing its five per cent accommodation tax on hotel rooms in 2008 it estimated that on average there were 300 occupied rooms per night in Thompson at an average price of $85 per night. Those estimates, based on an occupancy rate of around 67 per cent, have proved to be conservative and the tax has generated more revenue than projected as occupancy rates of 70 per cent or higher have been realized.

The last three single detached new home housing starts in Thompson were during the second quarter - this time - last year.

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Single detached new home housing starts in Thompson dropped by 50 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009 - from six to three - after in turn plummeting 86 per cent in 2009 to six from 43 in 2008.

Single-family starts went from 24 in 2007 to 43 in 2008 - an increase of 79.2 per cent - and the highest number of housing starts in the last eight years. The last quarter to record multiple family housing starts was more than two years ago during the fourth quarter of 2008 when four semis and four row (townhouse) units were started. Multiple family housing starts went from two in 2007 to eight in 2008, all started in the final quarter. Combined there were 51 housing starts in Thompson in 2008, compared to 26 in 2007, representing a 96.2 per cent increase.

No multiple family housing units have been started since then, although construction is expected to begin soon on 24 student and family housing townhouse units adjacent to the planned new University College of the North (UCN) campus near the Thompson Regional Community Centre.

A June 2008 deal between Winn Can Properties Ltd. and the City of Thompson to build 110 new homes in the Burntwood South subdivision by the end of 2011 collapsed at the end of 2009 with no new homes being built. The developer has forfeited its $30,000 deposit.

Winn Can, comprised of a Winnipeg group of investors, including lawyer Paul Edwards, working in conjunction with Schickedanz West, a division of Calgary-based Schickedanz Bros. Construction, was to build the first 30 homes by the end of 2009.

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