The owner of Hay River’s Mackenzie Place highrise is trying to sell the building to any interested party before it is sold in a tax arrears auction next month.
The building has been empty since a fire in March 2019 left it uninhabitable and displaced about 100 residents.
As of June, the Town of Hay River said owner Harry Satdeo owed the municipality approximately $170,000. Unless that debt is cleared, the highrise is set to be sold at a public tax auction on August 12.
The property was listed by the town for $1.45 million at a previous auction but removed at the last minute.
Satdeo this week told Cabin Radio he is looking for a group to “take the debt and take the highrise" before August's auction comes to pass.
He said the total debt on the building currently sits at about $1.6 million.
“I’m 71 years old, I don’t live in Hay River most of the time, and I’d like to retire,” he said.
“It’s really sad that the building has been sitting there for two years and it can’t be reopened because of minor bureaucratic things.”
Satdeo said he would specifically “prefer an Indigenous group to take over” the building because "Indigenous groups needs housing more than anyone else.”
Satdeo estimates an additional $50,000 in "minor repairs” is needed to reopen the highrise, though his view of the work to reopen the building has in the past conflicted with the assessment of the territorial government.
In March, housing minister Paulie Chinna told the Legislative Assembly there were “a lot of additional issues with that building.”
The highrise remains closed because of a public health order related to asbestos and mould. Additionally, territorial government has said the building has unsafe balconies, a damaged fire alarm system, and a range of other issues related to fire protection.
Satdeo said any parties interested in purchasing the property would have access both to the building and associated documentation.
If a buyer doesn’t come forward, the building will be available for purchase at the tax auction on August 12 at 9 a.m.
Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio