Landmark downtown Maple Ridge property needs investor

Plan is to sell 10 lots at 223rd Street and Lougheed Highway, former site of Mussallem Motors.

The plan is to sell the 10 lots at 223rd Street and Lougheed Highway, the former site of a Maple Ridge landmark known as Mussallem Motors.

But that will take a while. First, the soil in one small area must be decontaminated, so that the site can receive environmental certification.

But that’s basically just a matter of time, Dave Mussallem told council Monday.

Once a certificate has been issued saying the site has been remediated, it’s a matter of enticing a developer to buy all the properties and put up a multi-use project.

“Because of its location, it could be a real game changer for the downtown area … if a developer came and put something up really nice. That’s only wishful thinking, for now,” Mussallem said.

“But the property will all be for sale, the whole 10 lots, and hopefully something good will end up on it.”

Mussallem said he has talked to a major Vancouver developer, but there are few who want tackle such a project. Many just want to buy two lots at a time for smaller projects.

He was explaining the possible future of one of the premier spots in the downtown as part of an application to  allow temporary retail use of one the buildings.

“The taxes on the whole parcel are staggering.”

It would be nice to get a tenant in there, he added.

He said his lawyer advised him to first remediate the site and get a certificate showing that the site was clean before putting the property on the market.

So far, nine old underground gas tanks have been removed from the property.

Maple Ridge council forwarded the application to its regular meeting, but asked staff to ensure a recycling centre or gas station couldn’t be one of those temporary uses.