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Stop renting from Northview: MLA

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One Yellowknife MLA says the GNWT should stop renting buildings from Northview Apartment REIT.

MLA for Yellowknife North North Rylund Johnson says the company has a monopoly in the north, and that the territorial government should stop propping it up.

“I want the GNWT to stop leasing from Northview high yield investment trust,” Johnson said in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. “I want us to stop being the anchor tenant in all of their buildings when they have repeatedly shown little interest in our community. The GNWT has funded this monopoly for years at a cost to Northerners.”

The GNWT pays around $18 million every year leasing buildings from the corporation, according to infrastructure minister Diane Archie.

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Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust, NWT’s largest private landlord, was bought for nearly $5 billion by KingSett Capital, another real estate investment company, in October.

Northview owned over 1000 units in Yellowknife. Across Canada, Northview owns 27,000 residential suites in more than 60 towns and cities across eight provinces and two territories

“Local landlords reinvest their rents into the community,” said Johnson. “They take more risk on local businesses, and they are key to a community’s identity. However, our capital city has a serious problem with local ownership.”

Currently, the GNWT owns 28 per cent of its office space and leases 72 per cent. The GNWT currently leases 109 spaces for a total of 626,000 square feet of office space, much of it in downtown Yellowknife.

Johnson pointed to previous analysis that had been done, saying it was cheaper for the GNWT to own its own office space rather than lease it from companies. He called on the infrastructure department to do a cost-benefit analysis of the GNWT owning more of its office space.

Archie said that a review will be conducted when leases on the GNWT’s current properties expire. Archie says the current analysis the GNWT has says it’s more cost effective to lease on a 10-year term, which most of the GNWT’s properties are, instead of owning space.

Northview REIT Apartments were not immediately available to comment.

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