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Development in the works for South Riel

GWL Realty Advisors apparently close to seeking city approval

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 07, 2013 06:00 am

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A major parcel of land in St. Albert may soon be moving into the first phase of development, said a senior official with the city’s economic development team.

GWL Realty Advisors recently confirmed that it’s ready to come before the city with an area structure plan amendment for the 54.1 hectare property the company owns in South Riel, said Guy Boston, executive director with St. Albert’s economic development.

While the city is keeping mum on specific details, Boston said officials are excited about the news.

“They are moving forward with plans to develop it and our understanding is that they’ll be coming to us with an area structure plan amendment shortly,” Boston said. “I don’t think it’s before Christmas but probably early in the new year, which certainly suggests that they want to get moving.”

The land was originally owned by Hopewell – a commercial developer – and changed hands in October 2012 for approximately $31.1 million, according to a provincial land title certificate.

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.

Boston said he does not know what GWL has planned for the property, which is now zoned commercial and industrial.

“They certainly have some ideas how they want to implement the city’s vision and might also be making some tweaks,” he said.

GWL's website says the company, a real estate brokerage, manages $15.9 billion in assets in North America in multi-residential and commercial properties and land. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Great-West Life Assurance Company.

Despite the long wait, Boston said the city never doubted that GWL was going to develop on the land.

“But it’s all just conversation until there are actual submissions of what their development plans are,” he said. “So when we see that we even get happier.”

GWL could not be reached for comment before press time.


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