Future unclear for luxury Whitemud Drive condominium project

A retired heart transplant pioneer says he’s still trying to arrange financing for a southwest Edmonton luxury condominium development and could wind up selling the site.

Dennis Modry has been working to develop the 45-unit Privada Private Residences at the 2.8-hectare Whitemud Road home where he lives with his wife, but said Monday he has to meet with potential investors over the next few weeks to determine what happens next.

In the meantime, what’s described as his “one-of-a-kind estate” overlooking the North Saskatchewan River, complete with a 490-square-metre, two-storey home, has been listed for sale for $12.8 million.

“Our plan is still to go ahead with the project, but we thought what we would do is list the property at the same time and see what happens,” Modry said.

“In this particular environment, financing of the project is a challenge, so although we have had a tremendous number of people interested in purchasing units and we have banks lined up … for the project to go ahead, a financing equity partner is required.”

Luxury amenities

The Privada website says the development includes private elevator access to suites from an underground parking structure with individual garages that wash the undercarriages of vehicle when they enter, concierge services, a fitness studio and a golf simulation facility.

The condos will be in six buildings and range in price from approximately $1.9 million to $5 million.

Modry, who performed the first heart transplant in Western Canada at the University of Alberta Hospital in 1985, intended to start construction last spring or summer.

He now hopes crews can begin work this spring, saying most residential projects currently going up downtown started before the oil and gas downturn, and potential investors are now more wary about the provincial economy.

“My optimistic hope is we will be able to get the financing nailed down within the next few weeks, at least by the end of January,” he said.

“If somebody comes around and makes me an offer I can’t refuse on the property, I might just sell it.”

Any sale would include a requirement for him to be part of a future development on the site, Modry said.

Last week, Toronto’s Lamb Development Corp. announced it is cancelling plans for the 37-storey Jasper House Condominiums on 106 Street north of Jasper Avenue, which president Brad Lamb vowed to begin this past fall after it was put on hold in 2015 because of Alberta’s recession.

However, there are also bright spots in Edmonton’s real estate industry.

David Sanche, co-chief executive of Westrich Pacific Corp., said his company is buying land on 106 Street adjacent to the Lamb site for a residential tower that could have as many as 40 to 60 storeys, although details haven’t been confirmed.

Another developer has bought land nearby, and Westrich Pacific is going to city council in April to seek zoning for a scaled-down, roughly 22-floor Grandin condo tower after a larger version was rejected, he said.

“All this negative news? We’re booming. Downtown is still strong,” Sanche said.