Developer Bringing Rental Subdivision to Niverville

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Rendering of new townhouse rental units. Luke Wiebe

A new development is on the rise on Fourth Avenue South in Niverville, and it’s already begun construction. When complete, it will feature 46 rental units, catering to the rental market. 

“The vision started about seven years ago when I became a realtor,” says developer and realtor Luke Wiebe, who co-owns the project alongside his mother Kathy Wiebe. “I saw an old home in Niverville that had a huge lot, and I noticed that all of properties had really deep lots on Fourth Avenue South—278 feet deep. Which is unusual. Anyway, my mom always told me to pay attention to old homes with large lots, as they could have development opportunity. So I approached the homeowners, and asked them if they wanted to sell.”

Wiebe says he didn’t initially plan to buy the land for himself, but it didn’t take long for him to see the scale of the opportunity. Shortly after meeting the sellers, he told them of his and his mother’s hopes to buy others along the street and one day be able to rezone the land for a development. He then agreed to purchase their home for their full asking price.  

“Then we just sat on it,” Wiebe continues. “Then the neighbours called me and asked if I might be interested in their house. So we bought it. After that, it was a chain reaction. So we bought these houses and knew that one day we would create a beautiful subdivision here.”

Niverville has been a hotspot for new home builds in the last ten years, with subdivisions rapidly filling up in all corners of the community as homebuyers enter the market from places like Winnipeg, attracted to the small-town setting and easy commute.

The rental market, however, has been more or less stagnant. The vacancy rate is low in the few apartment buildings around town. Although there are a small number of houses and condos available for rent, those are in high demand.

Wiebe says that the time was right. They started pre-advertising four months ago, well before the start of construction, to test the waters. They were delighted when the first townhouse leased out. The number of people interested in securing homes in the development, even before he could guarantee the development would be built on schedule, demonstrated just how dry the market is.

“We are marketing it as luxury rentals,” says Wiebe. “We decided to target a market that wants higher quality instead of the largest space for the cheapest price. They want to live in a nice home with higher-end finishes.”

The development will include two different kinds of units. The first option is a 1,300-square-foot two-story townhouse with three bedrooms, one and a half baths, a patio, and a garage, which rents for $1,375/month. The second option is a one-bedroom unit that rents for $825/month. Both come with separate entrances, nine-foot ceilings, luxury vinyl plank flooring, soft-close kitchen cabinetry, and access to a common playground. The entire property will be fenced-in.

Another reason that demand is so high is that the Fourth Avenue development will be pet-friendly, including dogs, something many rentals don’t allow. Not only will pets be allowed, they’ll be welcomed. The development will even include space for its own dog park.

“The first building will have occupancy September 1 and the second between October and November,” says Wiebe. “The third and fourth buildings will come in the months to follow. Framing will start in the beginning of April.”

Wiebe says the development has partnered with the Town of Niverville to install a water line down the street, infrastructure which will also provide an opportunity for other homeowners on Fourth Avenue to hook up to town water.

He also notes that these new rentals are located right between the two current schools, so children can walk less than two blocks in either direction to get to their classrooms.

The development, according to Wiebe, is going to help keep more young people in the community, as well as draw new residents from the city who aren’t yet ready to build their own homes.

“We already have the first building 80 percent leased and the second building about 40 percent leased, but we have units available for fall 2018 and spring 2019,” he adds. “We’re excited. I’ve had people come up to me and thank us for doing something here. It’s been quite the blessing to hear the local people messaging me on Facebook, saying that this is just what Niverville needed… that they almost feel forced to stay where they are, because there are no options. Now there are options. We can’t wait to see people move in!”

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