Courtesy: The Tri-City News
A large swath of land in an undeveloped part of northeast Coquitlam could look dramatically different in the coming year as the city prepares to sell off more than 30 acres.
Perry Staniscia, Coquitlam’s manager of lands and properties, said a recent council decision to cancel undeveloped road and lane allowances for land east of the unfinished David Avenue — and consolidate them with surrounding parcels — paves the way for future sales.
While consultation is still underway to develop a neighbourhood plan for Partington Creek, the upper Smiling Creek area could see construction as early as 2012. “We want to be in a state of readiness so we are not behind the eight ball,” he said. “We want to be ready if there is a resurgence in the market place.”
A road and lane plan was drawn up in the early 1920s, but Staniscia said it did not appear that city planners of the day paid much attention to the area’s topography. By cancelling the road and lane allowances, a developer would have an easier time accommodating the area’s natural geography, in order to maximize the land use potential.
Four parcels, or what Staniscia calls super blocks, were impacted by the road cancellations.
Lot one currently sits at the end of David Avenue, while lots two and three are located south of David, along roads that have not been built or named. The fourth lot is located along Marigold Street, east of the the first three lots.
The sale of the land will benefit the city financially, but how much is still up for debate.
Depending on the property, an acre on the Burke Mountain area can sell for as low as $30,000 or as much as $1.1 million. Riparian or steep grade areas, which are not developable, tend to sell for less while flatter land sells for more.
“You have to be careful establishing market values up there because there is so much variance from property to property,” he said. “There are a lot of properties where you take five acres, but you can only use one acre for development.”
Proceeds from the land sales go into a separate fund, which is sometimes used for the purchase of more property; however, it is too early to say what the city will do with the money it makes from selling the land, he said.
The next decision city planners have to make is whether to service the area before bringing the land to market. Roads and infrastructure, he said, can increase the value of the property but there are risks involved.
In the time that it takes to build the appropriate services, the demand for the land can change and there is a possibility the city could miss the market, he added.
“Once you created those newly subdivided lots, that is usually when we can actually put them out to market,” he said. “But if the demand for these lands really ramps up, then we may make this land available to the development community as is.”
Courtesy: The Tri-City News