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Pre-sale owners of stalled Richmond Atmosphere project still in dark

The 800-plus development in Richmond’s city centre — which is under creditor protection — could have a new building permit application into the city within the next couple of months
Joshua Chang, a pre-sale owner of the Atmosphere project, in Richmond. | Valerie Leung, Richmond News

A large development in Richmond’s city centre — that is under creditor protection — could have a new building permit application into the city within the next couple of months.

The city confirmed they are expecting a building permit application for the 800-plus-unit Atmosphere project that has been idle for almost two years.

After funding for the project was cancelled early in the pandemic, construction at Atmosphere, on No. 3 Road and Alderbridge Way, ground to a halt and the building permits expired.

“Every time I drive by, I can see mine and other owners’ money just sitting in this giant hole.”

Joshua Chang, a pre-sale owner of the Atmosphere project, was one of several people at the project’s showroom on No. 3 Road on Monday morning hoping to have their concerns and voices heard about the development.

In its place is a giant gaping hole that many pre-sale owners can do nothing about except wait.

“It’s been very frustrating and very sad for everyone from the moment we heard the property was put on a pause and wasn’t continuing any further,” said Chang, who invested $250,000 into a three-bedroom condo in the Atmosphere development, about one-quarter of the price.

He told the Richmond News phone calls and emails to the developer, South Street, by himself and his realtor regarding the next steps on plans or their money have been ignored since 2021.

Like many pre-sale owners, 29-year-old Chang is looking for answers from developers and the marketing firm Magnum.

“I want them to at least try and help us out by facing us owners who have been suffering for almost four years and explain everything,” he said.

“The thing I want is to get the money back and if there’s other buyers to get construction moving. Then, I’ll maybe think about re-buying again, but for now I’m not quite sure.

“The only information I have right now is the lawsuit filed by Romspen Investment Corp., but I don’t know if that will work.”

The large lot had been cleared and excavated, leaving a large gaping hole.

The owner, Alderbridge Way Limited Partnership, filed for creditor protection in April last year to restructure its business.

Documents filed by Alderbridge Way LP in the creditor protection program indicate the owner is planning to submit a building permit application by Nov. 1 and hopes to have this permit in place in March.

The development plan includes an office tower and six residential towers with 824 units of housing, of which 112 will be market rentals and 38 affordable rental units.

In a statement, Alderbridge Way LP, the owner of Atmosphere, said it wants to assure presale buyers their deposits are held in trust and protected, and their priority is to “work towards maintaining their contracts and advancing the project.”

Furthermore, the company said, no buyers have formally asked to cancel their deposits, and the deposits are “safe.”

— with files from Maria Rantanen