Builder Eric Woodward at the Fortitude restaurant in his Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley. Woodward is preparing to transfer his Fort Langley holdings into a charitable foundation. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Lower Mainland builder to transfer assets into charitable foundation worth $100 million

Eric Woodward names former White Rock mayor to head foundation board

Langley builder Eric Woodward has announced plans to transfer his Fort Langley property holdings and development profits to a charitable foundation.

Woodward issued a statement saying three as-yet-undeveloped Fort Langley commercial development sites and existing holdings of his Statewood Properties Ltd. will be “irrevocably transferred to the newly-formed Eric Woodward Foundation beginning in 2019.”

The holdings represent a combined value of approximately $55 million, the announcement said.

With the eventual redevelopment of the three sites, he said the assets worth will grow to well over $100 million within an anticipated timeline of 10-15 years “with annual cash flow of millions of dollars per year.”

Woodward withdrew three development proposals earlier this year, saying municipal authorities in the Township were insisting on unreasonable restrictions.

At one point during the impasse, Woodward had a boarded-up property painted pink to register a protest, then changed it to grey after several weeks.

He has had billboard-sized photos installed on other boarded-up buildings.

READ MORE: No boutique hotel for Fort Langley

Woodward, who is considering running for Township council, said the foundation would address potential conflict of interest charges if he runs, but that was not why it is being created.

“(This is) not about a potential run for mayor at all,” Woodward told The Times.

“This plan will happen either way, run or not run, win or lose.”

Woodward said creating a foundation has been his long-term plan for years.

“For me, revitalizing Fort Langley was never about making more money,” Woodward said.

“I have enough. I only ever wanted to make a difference in revitalizing Fort Langley because Langley is my home, and because I could.”

READ MORE: Election 2018: Eric Woodward considers run for Township mayor

Local charities and causes will become the beneficiary of all future development and indefinite rental profit related to three Fort Langley development assemblies on Glover Road between Mavis Avenue and 96 Avenue, which will be indefinitely overseen by an independent Board of Directors of mostly Fort Langley residents.

“Late last year, when I announced to Fort Langley residents that development advocacy by me personally would cease, I immediately began the process of planning a new foundation and charitable direction to be overseen by local Fort Langley residents,” said Woodward.

“The development profit and rental income from any future development will go to registered charities and qualified causes within Greater Langley. This way, the community will benefit from the ongoing revitalization of Fort Langley, and we will safeguard key principles for its management for future generations, for Fort Langley to truly remain ‘somewhere different.’”

Initially, three acres of mixed-use commercial and multi-family properties in the heart of Fort Langley worth an estimated $18 million will be transferred from Woodward’s Statewood Properties Ltd. to the Eric Woodward Foundation.

All holdings, including the recently completed Coulter Berry building, will be transferred to the Foundation within 10-15 years, after the tax liabilities and “numerous technical complexities” are sorted out, Woodward said.

The development sites and their future redevelopment will now be overseen by the board of directors of the new Eric Woodward Foundation, chaired by Tom Kirstein, former mayor of White Rock (1979-1983).

The following Fort Langley residents will serve as founding directors of the new charitable foundation:

• Gareth Abreo – 66 Avenue – President, Fort Langley BIA

• Frank Cox – Casimir Street

• Barry Dashner – Francis Avenue

• Shona De Guzman – Francis Avenue

• Kelly Holmes – Wright Street

• Maureen Rose – Bedford Trail

• Rob Rose – Bedford Trail

• Eric Woodward – Glover Road

“When Eric originally told me of his plans, I had just witnessed similar philanthropy in Tasmania,” Kirstein said.

He was referring to the creation of Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), funded by David Walsh, a colourful Australian professional gambler, art collector and businessman, who spent a rumoured $200 million U.S. to build the museum and its art collection in his home state.

The story is similar, Kirstein said.

“Hometown boy comes back, makes some money, decides to invest it and do some good,” Kirstein said.

Kirstein said Woodward talked to him about the foundation more than a year ago.

“I think there’s a hidden philanthropist there,” Kirtsein said.

He said the foundation will assist “Langley-specific” charities working in health, education and help for the underprivileged.

The new foundation will seek to build new mixed-use commercial buildings on Glover Road between Mavis Avenue and 96 Avenue, and on McBride Street, starting with the now 1.6-acre site at the corner of Mary Avenue and Glover Road, in the heart of Fort Langley.

Woodward said his current holdings in Fort Langley, including the three development sites, represent almost 40 per cent of the Fort Langley commercial core, and 80 per cent of commercial property in the Fort Langley core from 96 Avenue to Mavis Avenue, along Glover Road.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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