The City of Pitt Meadows is looking to sell-off 4.67 hectares of farmland in Bonson so it can be developed into townhomes and low-rise apartments, a move that could net the city millions of dollars.
Pitt Meadows Chief Administrative Officer Jake Rudolph said the property is worth “multi-millions,” and will provide the city with a much-needed cash injection.
“We’ll see what the market is prepared to pay for the property… but we expect it should generate a strong response from developers across Metro Vancouver,” he said.
The property is located south of Airport Way, north of the Osprey Village development, and is currently zoned agricultural. However, the area is designated as medium-density residential under the City’s Official Community Plan, and is not part of the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The city will support rezoning for the right project, Rudolph said.
“We will be looking for a good quality development to go in there,” he said.
The OCP allows for 31 to 100 townhouse or low-rise apartment units per hectare, meaning up to 467 residential units could potentially be built on the property.
Rudolph said the decision by the city to sell now was based on current market conditions being “good.”
“The municipality’s financial situation is also something to factor in,” he added.
Pitt Meadows has had to resort to borrowing more than $11 million in the past two years to pay for upgrades to Pitt Meadows Arena and build the South Bonson Community Centre.
Rudolph said the sale of the land will put the city in a better position to fund future capital projects.
Ihor Zalubniak, a realtor in Pitt Meadows, said the city property is a unique opportunity.
“This is one of the last developable pieces of land in Pitt Meadows,” he said. “There’s nothing else here like that.”
More than 85 per cent of land in Pitt Meadows is in the Agricultural Land Reserve or the region’s Green Zone, protecting it from development.
The city is currently entertaining expressions of interest from developers and plans to make a short-list of up to five proponents to respond to a more detailed request for proposals later this year.
The deadline for expressions of interest is Sept. 30.
Rudolph expects the parcel to be sold by early 2012.
Developers are being asked to come up with a design that integrates with the style of the nearby Osprey Village development, and incorporates green building standards.
The developer would also be responsible for building a “green corridor” along the western edge of the property, providing a natural trail connecting Osprey Village to the Pitt Meadows Athletic Fields.