Sounds dramatic but it looks like a good deal for everyone. The developer who now owns the old run-down Curling building at 22 Queen Street wants to demolish that and build a 65 unit condo development that would also occupy the parking lot. The development would have at least 155 underground parking spots which would include 64 publicly accessible “Green P” parking spaces to replace the current 64 spaces. The building would be mixed commercial (6000 sq. ft.) and residential and the estimated value of project construction is $32M. This requires that the Town sell the parking lot to the developer – and to include clauses to ensure that the deal is good for the Town and its citizens. The sale price is $600K but the Town wins financially with development charges, property taxes and an arms-length managed indoor parking area.
The owner of 22 Queen who is making the deal is the developer of the new high-end housing project on King Street called Cedar Shores (more on that here).
Despite having had a good experience on that project, the Town has added clauses that allow for termination at two stages of the project:
- A reversal of the sale after two years if construction does not start – there would be a $10k cost to the developer in this case.
- If there is not substantial performance in 5 years after commencement of construction, the Town would get up to $600K from the developer to finance a replacement parking facility.
It has also been agreed that the existing parking lot will remain as an open, public parking lot until the actual construction begins.
There is still significant work to be done before construction starts. Site plan approval will be before the end of 2019 and a start on construction would be no later than 2 years after that. Although not spelled out, one public meeting will likely be scheduled in 2019.
The agreed sale price is $600k and the appraised value is $1,133K (22 Queen sold/closed for $1,050K in July 2017). But the Town gains with the addition of an indoor parking facility valued at between $960K and $1,600K which makes the total value to the Town between $1,560K and $2,200K. The Condo Corporation will manage the 64 spaces and charge parking fees at no more than twice Town rates (as set out in its Fees and Charges By-law). This parking arrangement will be secured with a 99 year lease.
The parking revenue currently collected is estimated at $20K to $30K per year with maintenance of the lot and of meters costing approx. $10K. This net profit would be lost but the Town gains one time Development Charges of approx. $700K and annual property taxes of approx. $300K.
CAO Stephen Peacock notes that the development helps the Town meet targets for residential intensification in the Downtown area and that the extra population will help with Downtown vitalization.
The agreement was worked out in multiple closed Council sessions held since May 2017 so Councillors should be fully aware of all the details. It will come up for approval at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 25 and it will get final Council approval on July 3.
Update – June 25, 2018
At the Council Committee of the Whole meeting on June 25, a presentation was made to give more details about the proposal to buy the Town owned parking lot as described above (download pdf from Town’s site here). One key addition was that the roof of the building will include “skygardens” to provide the feeling that the development is an extension of the adjacent Victoria Park. The zoning changes requested will be minimal with the result that there will be 5 storeys at 22 Queen but only 3 at 36 Queen since those heights are already approved. Debra McCarthy asked about possible basement flooding due to the proximity to the lake but was told that if in fact there is a problem, then pumps and backup power would resolve it.
Council approved the proposal.