Your drive along Knowlton Road is about to start looking very different. There are five projects within a one kilometre stretch that have been approved and are expected to get underway this year. Four of these are housing projects that will add a total of 60 dwellings. Digging started in April for the fifth project – Dollarama.
It is easiest to take you on a tour of what you can soon expect to see as you leave the main intersection in downtown Knowlton and head towards Cowansville along Knowlton Road (Route 104).
A complex with 18 condos will be going up in the long-time vacant lot on your right at 324 Knowlton Road (beside Hors-Cadre). This project by Les Constructions Stéphane Fortin Inc. has been in the works for some time.
Further along on your left, across from the church and school and next to Veterans Park, the empty lot at 375 Knowlton Road will be transformed into two buildings with five units each. Next up on your right at 438 Knowlton Road, where the land was excavated last year, is where three three-story buildings with six units each are to be built by the Lacroix family of Sutton. By the time you read this the work likely will have started.
On the right, just before the SAQ, Dollarama is underway. On the other side of the SAQ, Habitations Thermo Prestige will be filling the empty space with two housing units, one for eight dwellings and another for six.
In addition to these Knowlton Road projects there is a proposal on the table from GJ Menard for seven buildings that will provide housing for 67 families on Julien Street (keep driving another half kilometre and turn right on Julien. You can’t miss seeing the layout behind Garage DCS). By the time you read this the public consultation will have been held to address the derogations that have been requested. Please refer to the TBL Council report for more details.
To be clear, except for the 18 condos, these are new dwellings that will be up for rent.
That’s not all. TBL Director General, Mr. Gilbert Arel, says “The town has an agreement in principle with the developer on Frizzle (on the right as you go up the hill from Chez Moi Chez Toi) to build 29 single-family homes.” The developer first needs to get proper authorization from the Department of Environment as there are issues with wet land.
In case you are wondering about the former IGA lot at 472 Knowlton Road, “a potential new owner presented a preliminary plan for apartment buildings and discussions and analysis are ongoing”, says Mr. Arel. There is also a 22-acre lot on Victoria, across from the community centre that was recently been sold to a developer who has not shared any plans yet.
Will all this new housing do anything to fix the labor shortage? That remains to be seen. Asked whether the new housing will be affordable Mr. Arel replied, “That all depends on what you mean by affordable?” Isn’t that the truth? With prices going up the way they are it will be interesting to see how quickly these new homes get rented out. For a peek at what the housing units look like, please see below: