After years of round tables and countless hours of negotiations, a developer has signed the dotted line to take on Squamish’s oceanfront.
On Tuesday, Aug. 5, the District of Squamish, Matthews Southwest (MSW) and Bethel Lands Corp. came to the final purchase and sale agreement to develop the 59-acre project on the community’s waterfront.
It marks a great moment for the community, Squamish mayor Rob Kirkham said.
“The transaction with Matthews Southwest and Bethel ensures that the community’s vision for the Oceanfront Lands will be created by a world class development group – starting with the Oceanfront Park,” he stated in a press release.
The agreement outlines a partnership between the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation 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 purchase price sits at $15 million, with a $1 million deposit. The development of the SODC lands will expedite the installation of required infrastructure and key upgrades to the downtown core, officials stated.
“The payment terms will also ensure that the SODC debt is paid off with no risk to the taxpayers,” Kirkham said. “Council unanimously supports this agreement as the best course for the community. All around – this is excellent news for Squamish.”
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.
Municipal officials chose Squamish-based Bethel and the American company Southwest to carry out the development last October. The MSW-Bethel proposal was chosen after an 18-month process set out in a council resolution in the spring of 2012. The request for expressions of interest attracted seven proposals, officials said.
Construction is expected to begin immediately upon the completion of a deal, officials told the Squamish Chief last year.