The site of the former Hammond Cedar sawmill is being investigated by developer Conwest developments. (The News files)

The site of the former Hammond Cedar sawmill is being investigated by developer Conwest developments. (The News files)

Developer investigating former Hammond Cedar site

Vancouver-based Conwest in talks with Interfor to buy riverfront property

The riverfront industrial land that was once the site of the Hammond Cedar Mill has attracted the attention of a prominent developer.

Some 200 employees were thrown out of work when Interfor closed the mill in the fall of 2019. It had been one of Maple Ridge’s largest employers since it started sawing logs in 1908.

READ ALSO: 200 out of work as Hammond Cedar to close

Now Ben Taddei, chief operating officer of Vancouver-based real estate developer Conwest Group, confirmed the company is investigating the potential purchase of the site. They met with Maple Ridge council’s Community Development and Enterprise Services Committee on Jan. 25.

No purchase is final.

It’s rare in the Lower Mainland for buyers to find a sizable site, 11 hectares, that is ready to develop. The property is on Maple Crescent near the Golden Ears Bridge, and is zoned industrial. The developer noted it is a challenging shape, rather than a standard rectangle.

Taddei said Conwest would look to develop the site for industrial users, and has a lot of experience.

“It’s a good site. It’s on the water, which is interesting. It gives us an added dimension to work with, and incorporate the riverfront into the vision for the property,” he said.

“It will be quite a nice place to be, from an employment point of view.”

The city committee made it clear they are most interested in industrial uses, he said.

“What they really want to see is employment generating lands for the community, and that’s what we plan to do.”

READ ALSO: City of Maple Ridge continues the hunt for new industrial land

Their future concept is still a rough draft. They are reaching out to the Katzie First Nation, the Port of Vancouver, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other regulatory bodies. The company would also speak with neighbours once their plans are firmer.

Taddei said the development could be either for lease, or strata sale.

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