The District of Squamish has reached the first step toward finalizing a long-awaited deal for oceanfront lands.
On Tuesday (June 17), the municipality and the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp. (SODC) signed a memorandum of understanding with developers to complete a transaction for the 59-acre project. The non-binding agreement with Matthews Southwest (MSW) and Bethel Lands Corp. outlines some key commitments for the final the purchase and agreement, including a $15 million cash purchase price for the former industrial property.
“Matthews Southwest and Bethel are extremely excited to move toward a transformation of the SODC lands in the near future,” MSW president Jack Matthews said in a statement. “This is a complex development site and it required a lot of effort to create the appropriate transaction deal.”
The memorandum of understanding outlines a partnership between the SODC and developers, with the wholly owned municipal subsidiary retaining a 25 per cent interest in the partnership with no financial risk and a potential to participate in future profits. The developers have committed to build in accordance with the Oceanfront Sub-Area Plan — a guiding policy outlining one-third of the peninsula be park, another third be employment lands and the final third be dedicated to residential development. The construction timeframe in the agreement spans 20 years.
The non-binding agreement directs that the purchase and sale agreement will be completed this summer. It also states that the development will not negatively impact the municipality’s ability to build and maintain infrastructure and services for the rest of the community.
The district’s negotiating team worked hard to deliver the best deal available for the oceanfront, Mayor Rob Kirkham said.
“The transaction with [the developers] will eliminate the SODC debt and minimize ongoing risk to the taxpayers of Squamish,” he said.
Parties are now focusing on finalizing the purchase. Once that’s signed, the district will continue to work with the developers on a number of related agreements regarding the project’s phasing, infrastructure and amenity initiatives on the property. The documents will take until the spring of 2015 to complete, officials said. The projected completion date for the transaction is April 2015.
“They will start with construction of the Oceanfront Park as soon as possible once the agreements are complete,” Kirkham said.