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139 Tuxedo edited1By BERNIE BELLAN
A firm known as Karma Developments is proposing to build a multi-family dwelling on land that is owned by the Asper Jewish Community Campus.

The land, situated at the south-west corner of the campus, was formerly a provincial government office building, occupying approximately 1.9 acres. That building was demolished in 2014. About a year ago the Asper Campus put out a Request for Proposals for development of the site.
According to Curtis Martin, executive director of the Asper Campus, various proposals for multi-family housing were received. The proposal that was accepted was one from a company known as Karma Development Corporation, whose president is Myles Kraut and whose chief financial officer is Marc Kipnes.
In a conversation we had with Myles Kraut, he explained that the RFP issued by the Campus contained a price that the Campus expected to receive for the land. “We ended up paying significantly more for the land that what was being asked” by the Campus, Kraut said.
He also noted that there were eight other proposals submitted, in addition to his company’s. Since it was a secret bidding process, Kraut added that he had no idea whether the amount offered by Karma for the land was the highest bid. There were several other components to the RFP, however, he explained, including how well the proposal could be integrated into the existing Campus. “I like to think that our proposal was accepted also because of our reputation”, Kraut said, noting that his company has been involved in many such projects over the years.
As far as what the actual building would look like once completed, Kraut was able to offer a fairly detailed description of what is envisioned, noting that plans are subject to change. For instance, there is a notice on Doncaster Street indicating that the proposal is to build a 76-unit building. Kraut explained that, as a result of conversations that he has had with prospective condo purchasers, it was decided to reduce the number of units that would be built to 71, opting instead to increase the sizes of a good many of the units

“We’re looking at essentially two different demographics” when it comes to who might be interested in purchasing condos in the proposed development, Kraut explained. “The first would be what you would call ‘empty nesters’.” Those types of buyers generally prefer much larger units - in the 1400-2000 square foot range, Kraut said. Prices for those units will generally fall into the $500,000 - $1,000,000 range, he added.
The second demographic that would likely be interested in condos on the Campus would be “first time buyers”, Kraut suggested. These might be people who have just left their parents’ homes, he explained, who wouldn’t be looking for anything too large - something in the 850 square foot range. Prices for those types of condos will be in the mid to high 200s, Kraut noted; there will be 20 units available in that range.

As far as parking is concerned, there will be approximately two spaces for each condo unit, according to Kraut, with 75% of those indoors. (There will not be a ramp into an underground garage, he noted; instead, there will be a slight three foot decline into a covered parking area.)
The actual construction of the condos will take into account the historic appearance of the Asper Campus. The same type of granite that appears on the exterior of much of the Campus will be used in this project, Kraut said, “to mimic the materials” used in the construction of the Asper Campus, which was completed in 1997, but which was built upon the foundation of the old Manitoba Agricultural College.

In addition, given that the project will be located on the grounds of the Asper Campus, there will be a strict demarcation between the proposed development and the playground used by the Gray Academy, as well as the other grounds used by the Campus, Kraut noted. “There is going to be an eight-foot fence between the development and the rest of the Campus during construction,” he explained. Once the building is finished, a six-foot fence will separate the development from the Campus. As well, while residents of the development will naturally want to use the facilities of the Rady JCC, they will have to gain access by taking Tuxedo to Doncaster without being able to cut across the grounds of the Campus. On that note though, Kraut said that purchasers of units will be offered free memberships to the Rady JCC for the first couple of years.

As far as what materials will go into construction of the units is concerned, “our luxury condos will have the sorts of features buyers have come to expect in condos of that sort,” Kraut said, including “granite kitchens, hardwood floors, and modern appliances”. There will also be extensive use of windows throughout the building, he added.
 The proposal would require rezoning of the land in question. A public hearing of the Assiniboia Community Committee was scheduled to have been held July 5 at which any interested persons were to be allowed “to make submissions, ask questions, or register objections in respect of” the proposed rezoning application.
At that meeting (which will have taken place by the time this paper is delivered) the three councillors who sit on the Assiniboia Community Committee: Marty Morantz, Tuxedo; Shawn Dobson, St. Charles; and Scott Gillingham, St. James, will have been asked to give approval to the zoning variance that would be required in order for the proposed project to proceed. Assuming their approval is given, it would be next up to the Executive Policy Committee of City Council to give final approval.
If everything goes according to plan, and at least half the units are sold by the spring, construction of the project can be expected to begin next spring, Kraut said. If sales are slower, the start date for construction would likely be pushed back to the fall of 2017, he noted.
In the meantime, interested buyers should be able to visit a “presentation centre” on site sometime in mid-October this year, Kraut said, which will be a full scale replica of one the units that will be built in the project.

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