People are scheduled be moving in to Estevan's newest large-scale multi-family project on August 1.
The Marisa Condos are a 55-unit apartment building, located in the 700 block of Third Street, that will initially be available for renters. It will add some inventory for Estevan's usually tight housing market.
Seventeen of the apartments are already spoken for.
Matt Dorling with Vancouver-based Pinetree Wholesale said Pinetree – the developer handling the project – wanted to construct an apartment building in Estevan because he has been a landlord and a developer in the Energy City for the last eight years.
"I find that in western Canada, it would still be my No. 1 pick for real estate development and also rental accommodations," said Dorling.
The public has a keen interest in the project, too, Dorling said. They had a wine and cheese social to promote Marisa that attracted nearly 350 people. Pinetree has also been touting the project for people in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.
The building is unique by Estevan standards, too, thanks to a construction process that hasn't been used for local apartment buildings.
The Marisa Condos were constructed with a modular format, as opposed to the traditional stick-built style. Not only does it save construction costs and time, but there are other benefits.
Dorling said the buildings are acoustically superior, as residents will not hear any sound from neighbouring units – regardless of whether they're next door or on the floor above.
"The walls are basically twice as thick (as normal), and there's double the insulation between ceiling, walls and floors," said Dorling. "You're going to be moving into a property where you cannot hear outside."
The modular process also means that there is very little waste during construction. It starts with portions being constructed a climate-controlled, indoor environment, and then they are shipped to Estevan. All the lumber used to construct the units is dry.
"The overall carbon footprint on the development site is nominal, as opposed to the wastage factor on a wood-framed construction," said Dorling.
The construction process has also been accelerated thanks to the modular format. Dorling said they broke ground in November of 2013, and they'll be finished construction in less than nine months.
He expects the project would have required 11 to 16 months with the stick-built process.
"Efficiency-wise, it's superior," said Dorling. "Time-wise for construction, it's superior. Acoustically, it's superior."
Heating costs will also be substantially less than a wood-frame constructed building, he said, thanks to insulation, exterior building products and other measures they have taken during construction.
Dorling said they have used the process in single-family dwellings, but they have yet to try it in a multi-family project.
However, they are looking to use it in Pinetree's future apartment developments in Kitimat, B.C., and in Swift Current.
Apartments range in size from 625 to 1,028 square feet. The bulk of the units are one-bedroom apartments, which will cost $1,500 per month to rent. They also have apartments that are one-bedroom with a den, and they cost $1,800 per month.