Hoping to raise $12 million dollars, Council seeks realty help
BY SARAH WHITAKER
Special to the VOICE
At a special meeting of Council held behind closed doors on Monday, August 28, councillors discussed the process to hire a real estate firm that will help the Town sell almost 20 acres of land in the East Fonthill development.
Mayor Augustyn explained that the sale of excess lands in the development area was always part of the plan to finance construction of a new community centre, and now that roads and other services, and the Centre, are being constructed it is the right time to sell.
During Monday’s meeting Council was looking at results of a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a real estate firm to assist with the sale of the land “in whole or in part,” said Augustyn, noting the Town is still in the procurement process and no decision was made at the meeting.
“We want to make sure we get the best development for the Town and the highest return,” said the mayor, explaining that’s why the Town has decided to hire professionals to help sell the land.
“By what I’ve seen, they need some knowledge and expertise to sell this type of property,” said a local real estate professional, referring to the Town’s performance in past land deals in East Fonthill.
Any firm that takes on the sale should also have a more global set of skills and experience to get the best deal, including a proper appraisal of the property, said the realtor.
The Mayor couldn’t say if an appraisal was part of the RFP or not, but did confirm a valuation of the land would be done before it is sold.
The Town has often asserted that the land is worth between $600,000 and $800,000 an acre. Augustyn said the Town is currently using the low-end of that range, meaning the eight hectares (19.75 acres) would be worth just under $12 million.
Calling the $800,000 per acre value a “ridiculous figure,” a local realtor says there are still several vacancies within the new Fonthill Marketplace plaza and it remains to be seen if the community needs that much commercial property. With the amount of commercial space already available it is hard to believe the land has a true value in the $800,000 an acre range, the realtor explained.
The eight hectares for sale are zoned for a mix of uses including retail, commercial or medical centre.
The Town is hoping to have a “top firm” chosen by the end of September, said Augustyn.