Land deal has mayor hopeful
Large parcel in South Riel changes hands
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Friday, Feb 08, 2013 06:30 pm
A major parcel of land in South Riel has changed hands in the largest land transfer to take place since the city decided to more aggressively pursue industrial development.
Hopewell, a commercial developer, has sold its 54.1-hectare parcel south of the Enjoy Centre to GWL Realty Advisors for approximately $31.1 million, according to a provincial land title certificate. The transaction took place in October of last year.
The city is keeping mum on details of the transaction but welcomed the move.
“We’re looking forward to working with them in their plans in St. Albert in the next while,” said Guy Boston, executive director of economic development.
GWL’s website says the company, a real estate brokerage, manages $14.9 billion in assets in North America in industrial, office, retail, multi-residential properties and land. It’s not clear what GWL has planned for the South Riel property, which is zoned commercial and industrial.
GWL Realty Advisors is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Great-West Life Assurance Company.
Hopewell had originally proposed a shopping centre on the land, successfully applying for rezoning in 2009. But the economic downturn forced the company to abandon its plans.
Mayor Nolan Crouse said he had a feeling something was happening with the land last fall.
“I had met with Hopewell two or three times over the last year, and in fact, the last time I requested a meeting with them they actually declined,” Crouse said. “There was an indication they really weren’t interested in developing there.”
Crouse said he was thrilled with news that GWL had purchased the property.
“They are a serious player and we’ve been led to believe they are going to move at a pretty good clip,” Crouse said.
He added this transaction could be the watershed moment St. Albert is looking for in its industrial development.
“It’s one of those examples where you’ll start to see land deals and land acquisitions take place,” said Crouse. “I am thrilled.”
Last month city council formally amended the municipal development plan to add roughly 250 hectares of land for industrial purposes, known as the employment lands.