Those working to ensure development of Squamish's Oceanfront property are facing a “pivotal moment” over the coming weeks in choosing a development partner or partners for the planned 59-acre, mixed-use project, officials said this week.
In a statement issued on Tuesday (March 12), officials with the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp. (SODC) described the recent request for expressions of interest (RFEI) as having succeeded in attracting “worldwide interest for the site and multiple expressions of interest.”
SODC, an arm's-length subsidiary of the District of Squamish (DOS), last year asked real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield to help market the property to developers. The RFEI, seeking “purchasers or partners” in the project just south of downtown Squamish, closed on Feb. 6.
SODC and DOS officials this week said the number of expressions and diversity of interest in the project was encouraging.
“We are very pleased with the level of interest in the Oceanfront project,” said Bill McNeney, SODC board chair. “We have received multiple responses from local, regional and international companies. We now have the difficult but exciting task of choosing the right partner for the community of Squamish.”
Jonathan Silcock, SODC project manager, said it's possible that more than one developer will be chosen to help build the project. “I think it's safe to say there are different people that specialize in different land uses, so it's about finding the best partners with the best capabilities,” he said.
In the coming weeks officials with the SODC, DOS, Cushman and Wakefield and the Coriolis Consulting Group plan to interview potential partners and assess which interested bidder or bidders are best suited to partner with SODC on development of the municipally owned project.
“The decision ahead of us is paramount in importance and all parties will be at the table to ensure the right decision is made for the community,” Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham said.
“This is a pivotal moment in this process, and indeed our history. We have an excellent team looking at this from all angles. It's incredibly exciting.”
Silcock said the decision will likely be reached in a few months. He said the objective is to get started as soon as possible, perhaps by later this year. “It depends on how fast this gets finalized… there are partners who are interested in starting right away,” he said.