EcoCite, the developer responsible for the Bank Street condos that were never finished, is now the subject of an investigation by the Tarion Warranty Corp., a company that oversees Ontario’s Home Warranties Act.
The condos, which are located across the street from Lansdowne Park, were not completed due to the developer’s major financial troubles.
In October, Sue Potter, Jim Howse, and Jonathan Browne wrote a letter to Tarion expressing their concerns about EcoCite and their mortgage lender Romspen Investment Corp. In the letter it stated “that the parties cooperated to deliberately mislead the owners so as to ensure the owners’ continued commitment to the project and to deliver interest payments to Romspen.”
All of the owners were told that they would get their EcoCite refunds back, but many of them fear that they will undoubtedly lose their condo deposits. Tarion guarantees that they will receive their refunds, up to $20,000. Unfortunately, a large portion of the buyers spent upwards of $20,000 on upgrades which were completed during Romspen’s seizure of the property. The buyers have been offered their original units back, but at a much higher price. A price that is approximately 40 percent higher than the original price.
The letter also states “the timing of the default was planned to ensure that the building was close to 100 percent complete, extras would be added to the units, and the units could be resold quickly.”
The founder and principal of EcoCite, Christopher Sweetnam-Holmes stated that his company had “every intent” to complete the development. “There’s no way that I as a developer would want the lender to take over the project, because it basically guarantees that we lose all the money that we put in, and we lose money on the project,” Sweetnam-Holmes said.
“As far as I know, most people have had deposits returned and contracts have been terminated and the lender is remarketing units,” he said.
Tarion is currently searching for any way possible to offer help to the buyers. Tarion chief executive Howard Bogach stated, “The issue that also bothers me is I don’t think we have the powers to be able to deal with it.”
If you would like help finding a condo in Ottawa, contact Chris Coveny at OttawaMove.com.