May 18, 2024

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Construction begins on apartments, retail space in Bellanca building

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Demolition is nearly complete and 72 new apartments are beginning to be framed in Yellowknife’s vacant Bellanca building.

The new one-bed and two-bed apartment complex and retail space will be renovated over the summer. The owners are targeting a move-in date for new tenants of December 2024 or early 2025.

Plans for the revamped building, which will be called The Nest, were approved by the City of Yellowknife in summer 2022. The Nest is owned by Borealis Development, which reportedly bought the building for $1.4 million.

Borealis Development said it needed to get permitting and financing in place before construction could begin – a process that was delayed in part by last summer’s wildfire evacuation.

The windows have ben removed from the Bellance building as part of its transformation into the Nest apartment and retail complex. Sarah Pruys/Cabin RadioThe windows have ben removed from the Bellance building as part of its transformation into the Nest apartment and retail complex. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
The windows have ben removed from the Bellanca building as part of its transformation into The Nest, an apartment and retail complex. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

“We’re very excited,” said Afzal Suri, one of the owners of Borealis Development.

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“Hopefully this will revitalize the downtown core. I think it meets all the criteria that the city has set for the revitalization of the downtown core, and we’re hoping we’ll encourage other developers to do the same. 

“It was an existing building that was being under-utilized, and I think it can now finally live to its full potential.”

Suri said the building has been gutted on the inside, so Borealis can start afresh with new electrical, plumbing and windows. 

He noted the building “unfortunately had an issue with the facade” – part of the siding fell off the 10-storey building in 2018 – so that will also be redone.

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Construction materials outside the Nest on April 19, 2024. Sarah Pruys/Cabin RadioConstruction materials outside the Nest on April 19, 2024. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Construction materials outside The Nest on April 19, 2024. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

Once complete, there will be 36 one-bedroom units and 36 two-bedroom apartments. The layouts on each floor will be the same. 

“All the units are going to be rentals. There will be some put aside for affordable units,” said Suri.

Applications to rent the units won’t become available until an opening date for the building is in sight, but Suri said Borealis is already looking for commercial tenants to fill two rental units on the ground floor so Borealis can develop those spaces to meet their needs. 

A rendering of the proposed Nest building, which would be the end product of a renovation of the existing Bellanca buildingA rendering of the proposed Nest building, which would be the end product of a renovation of the existing Bellanca building
A rendering of the proposed Nest building, which would be the end product of a renovation of the existing Bellanca building. Image: Sphere Architecture

When shoppers enter the building, they’ll be able to turn left or right to enter a store. Residents can continue on to their apartments.

“The tenants wouldn’t be disturbed with the retail activity that’s going on, and it’ll be beneficial for the retail units because there’s non-stop foot traffic that’s walking right in front of their front door,” Suri said.

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