Tenants frustrated as 1 Columbia still not ready for occupancy
Students waiting to begin living at a new high-rise in Waterloo’s university district may have to wait a little while longer.
Tenants of the still-under-construction 1 Columbia building received an email Monday from Schembri Property Management, the property manager responsible for leasing the building, stating that the building would not be ready for occupancy by Friday.
“We are hoping that by the following weekend we should have partial occupancy,” the email read.
In an email to CTV News sent Wednesday, Schembri said the delays were due to subcontractors not providing sufficient manpower.
“We have been told by the contractor that the students will be able to move in within the next few weeks,” the email read.
1 Columbia, at the corner of King and Columbia streets, was originally expected to be open in time for the beginning of the school year.
Delays in the construction timetable have left students like Connor Ruest upset.
“The whole experience is frustrating to me,” she said.
With the building not ready for occupancy, Schembri has paid for hotel rooms for affected students.
Some of those students have been told they’ll have to move to a hotel in Guelph this weekend due to a large conference that had previously booked their current rooms.
According to an email sent to tenants from Schembri, the property manager is discounting rents for October, providing a free shuttle service to and from school and paying for meals and other amenities – all of which, the company says, amount to more than 500 per cent of students’ monthly rent.
Ruest, who opted against hotel accommodations in favour of signing a new lease elsewhere, says she’s filed an application for a rebate with the landlord and tenant board to get her $1,400 security deposit returned.
A hearing in her case is scheduled for Sept. 30.
A request for a formal interview with a Schembri representative for this story was declined.
Company officials did provide an emailed statement, in which they said they are extremely disappointed that delays in construction have let down their future tenants, and are looking forward to getting them moved in.
Affected students have been provided with hotel rooms or other accommodation at no cost to them, as well as options including pro-rated rent and lease transfers, the company said, while students who have to switch hotels over the weekend will be moved at the company’s cost.
CLARIFICATION: Schembri Property Management says 300 students are affected by construction delays at 1 Columbia. CTV News previously reported the figure as 500, and apologizes for any misunderstanding this may have caused.