BARRIE, ONT. -- The 20-storey, 208 unit condominium development that was meant to redefine luxury in downtown Barrie has been shelved.

The developer and its financial partner pulled the plug, blaming the pandemic and several lockdowns for disappointing sales.

In an email issued to those who did buy a unit, Advance Tech Developments president Joseph Santos wrote in part, "Although the project got off to a good start, COVID-19 has proven to be a hurdle that the project cannot overcome." It continued, "The state of emergency with on-again, off-again lockdowns and restrictions have hampered our ability to achieve meaningful additional pre-sales."

The contract allowed the company to cancel the project if it could not sell 85 per cent of units by May 1. Investors are being promised their money back.

Barrie's mayor calls the situation surrounding what's considered a prime piece of real estate frustrating.

"Especially given how strong the market is, especially given we've got cranes going up in the downtown for the first time in many years," said Mayor Jeff Lehman.

Part of the site at the intersection of Dunlop Street West and Bayfield Street has sat vacant since a massive fire in 2007.

"We want more people living in the downtown," Lehman added. "It is one of the best ways to make it safer and stronger. The best way for us to get more shops and services into the downtown core."

The Five Points project had been two years in the making with community benefits, including residential units at affordable rental rates for 20 years.