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City buys Bayview from developer
Goal is to kick-start development after years of inactivity

Simon Whitehouse
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 1, 2012

The city reached a deal with developer Mike Mrdjenovich on Tuesday to purchase Bayview Estates with an aim to develop the property that has remained derelict after more than five years.

"It looks that way, yes," said Mrdjenovich, when asked if a deal had been reached.

"We sold what it cost us, which is interest plus four-point some million dollars," said Mrdjenovich. "We didn't make a penny on it and we didn't want to make a penny on it. It was about getting the bureaucracy over with and we took in return some land on Twin Pine Hill."

According to the developer, the deal included a triangle-shaped lot on Franklin Avenue located adjacent to his Bartam Trailer Park property worth between $900,000 and $1 million. He said both properties were based on market value. He said the triangle is about 1.41 hectares in size.

Also known as Niven Lake Phase V, construction on the 2.95-hectare Bayview Estates property halted in 2007 after its former owner Bond Street Properties went bankrupt. Its 92-unit condominium project was left incomplete.

Mrdjenovich purchased the property for $5.6 million in 2009, but did not complete the work.

Van Tighem did not confirm the developer's figures, but said a deal was reached May 29.

"At the same time, with a memorandum of understanding that had been in place, the city redivided Bayview Estates and put it out for offer of purchase," said Van Tighem.

The city was hesitant to buy the property without expressed interest from local developers, said Van Tighem, but since a request for proposals went out in March, four buyers have applied to purchase three out of the five new properties.

"Of those, we are working with three that were the successful ones," he said. "The two other parcels are still for sale."

Van Tighem is also not disclosing who is offering to purchase the properties, because there has been no final sale and negotiations with the parties are still taking place.

Mrdjenovich said he is working on a development proposal to submit to the city in the next month for the piece of land at the bottom of Twin Pine Hill.

"We already have land down below at the (former) Bartam Trailer Park and right above that we are putting a proposal in," he said. "We are going to develop this year and finish next year. That is the plan."

Van Tighem admitted selling all the Bayview land is a major hurdle to overcome, but added the city is hoping to flip the Bayview property this year if possible.

"It is not over until we have two owners for those five lots and then it is over," said Van Tighem.

"Breaking that down into bite-sized chunks makes it more available to local developers and hopefully we will see work on that site this year."

As for the dilapidated buildings remaining on site, it is uncertain whether they will be built to completion or simply scrapped.

Coun. Cory Vanthuyne said some material, such as sheeting and plywood would probably have to be removed, but other materials enclosed in the structures - floor joists and two-by-four lumber - could be saved.

"When we had it surveyed and broke into five lots and put out for request for proposal, the group that won for the lot with the current infrastructure are I believe assessing that concrete and structures," he said.

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