Buyer found for Colwood’s Royal Bay lands

The vast and long empty Royal Bay lands in Colwood have found a buyer, a $91-billion pension investment trust based in Victoria.

B.C. Investment Management Corp. has closed a deal to purchase 419 acres of Royal Bay properties from Lehigh Northwest Materials

The vast and long empty Royal Bay lands in Colwood have found a buyer, a $91-billion pension investment trust based in Victoria.

B.C. Investment Management Corp. has entered into a deal with Lehigh Hanson (known locally as Lehigh Northwest Materials) to buy 419 acres of Royal Bay property. BCIMC was scheduled to take ownership of 296 acres Wednesday, and the remainder over the next months and years.

It’s too early to say when shovels will be in the ground, but Gwen-Ann Chittenden, spokesperson for BCIMC, said the company will start drawing up a detailed, phased development plan for the land.

“BCIMC is looking at the Royal Bay project as a large mixed-use and residential development,” Chittenden said. “It’s a significant development that requires careful consideration and planning, and market conditions that support it.”

The existing zoning and master plan for the former gravel pit allows for 2,800 single family homes, a village centre and a linear public park on 1.5 kilometres of waterfront property. The site also has potential for a marina.

The Sooke School District owns 15.6 acres within the property for one of its new high schools, which is in the planning stage.

Chittenden agreed BCIMC likely won’t deviate extensively from the existing master plan, but stressed that it’s still too early to know the housing density and detailed configuration of the project.

“We are looking at developing Royal Bay in phases. Until planning and approvals are done, and market conditions are there, it’s difficult to identify a timeline,” she said. “But we are committed to the project and committed to developing (Royal Bay).”

Lehigh didn’t advertise its asking price for the land and BCIMC won’t say what it is paying. Over the years of rumours and false starts with buyers, the asking price was thought to be between $30 to $50 million.

Lehigh has been trying to sell the land since it shut down 100 years of gravel operations at the end of 2007. About 300 homes exist on what was once a 640-acre industrial operation, but most of the land straddling Latoria Road and Metchosin Road remains weedy dirt lots.

BCIMC, a Crown-created trust corporation that operates at arm’s length from government, invests pension funds in a worldwide portfolio for 455,000 public sector workers in B.C. It is headquartered on Jutland Road in Victoria.

Chittenden described BCIMC as a prudent and conservative institutional investment company that, in terms of real estate, only invests in “premium properties.”

The trust corporation owns $12 billion worth of properties and buildings in Canada alone, including, locally, Westshore Town Centre, Fraser Tolmie Apartments, Delta Hotel and Resort and Harbour Towers Hotel. Across the water, it owns a raft of high-end addresses in downtown Vancouver.

“The Royal Bay lands we see as a long term investment that will complement our existing real estate portfolio,” Chittenden said.

“We look for premium properties that offer stable income and returns for our clients. Royal Bay is considered premium property with potential returns clients look for.”

The Royal Bay project is the second major development announced in Colwood this year, after the billion-dollar Capital City Centre broke ground at Colwood Corners in January.

Mayor Carol Hamilton said the land sale is good news for the economy of city. The character of the development needs to “blend” with the nearby border with rural Metchosin, she said.

“This is exciting for Colwood. Royal Bay will be another  anchor-point for the community,” Hamilton said, “the way the Colwood Corners development is an anchor for that side of the city.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Sooke’s Park Watch to cease operation

People not carrying money for donation boxes led to funding shortfalls

West Shore RCMP bust seizes $50,000 worth of drugs

More than 300 grams of cocaine and crack-cocaine seized in Victoria

Indigenous artist challenges people to re-assess environments with new project

The ‘Indigenous Illuminations’ transforms the ordinary into something new

Delays expected on Interurban Road due to wastewater treatment project in Saanich

Traffic down to a single alternating lane until Sunday evening

Last week for first year of Oak Bay deer contraception campaign

Crew working to administer second booster to all 60 does

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Kamloops man hangs on to back of stolen truck as suspect speeds away, crashes

The pickup truck was seen leaving the roadway before bursting into flames

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Frustration and pride in Canada after a year of legal pot

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

Most Read