Lots, parcels yield little interest from developers

Tenders opened for lots in Porter Creek, Granger

There were no takers for two large parcels of land up for grabs in Hidden Valley and Logan.

The two parcels had been put out to tender by the Yukon government with the bid opening held May 13. Another three lots put out to tender did see interest, each coming in over the minimum upset price.

This is the first time land has been put up for sale under a new territorial pilot project.

Director of the Yukon’s land management branch, Colin McDowell, said that with no bids in for the 0.3 hectare parcel in Logan at 6 Finch Cres. the land will be sold over the counter at the minimum price of $911,000.

The 5.02 ha site in Hidden Valley at 45 Couch Rd. will go back to to the Department of Community Services so the territory and city can work on a subdivision process.

The minimum price for that piece of land had been set at $1.029 million.

There could be up to five country residential lots from the Hidden Valley site. It’s anticipated those lots will become available through a lottery system later in the summer, McDowell said.

“There’s a lot of pressure to get land out,” he said.

The land on Finch Crescent could also eventually be subdivided. It could yield up to four Restricted Residential properties.

The site will be made available over the counter for at least the next two weeks first to see if there is interest in the land, McDowell said.

Though there were no bids on the parcels of land, three lots that were up for grabs drew three separate bids. With just one bid per lot, each bidder could get the lot of their choice provided they meet all the required criteria.

One bidder has already backed out.

“After numerous discussions today with both the City and YG we have decided to turn the lot back in as the estimates for the services and the unknown, in my opinion, are too much of a risk,” Wayne Cousins said in a May 14 email.

“I am aware that the lot was sold ‘as is where is’ but after a deeper understanding of the costs associated with bringing the lot to code I feel it outweighed the benefits.”

Despite what could be perceived as minimal interest, in a May 14 interview McDowell said overall officials were pleased with the new process, which came in response to private sector requests to play more of a role in land development.

McDowell said the response may be a reflection of it being a new process.

Under this new pilot project developers are required to put in the utility services along with pursuing subdivision of any sites if they are developing multiple lots.

The process has been criticized by some as inflating the cost of land and homes, but McDowell described it as trusting the market. He pointed out any bidder will only put in a price up to a maximum of what they believe the value of the land is.

Cousins disagrees.

He was the first to have his bid of $227,869 opened for the 0.158 ha lot at 42 – 14th Ave. in Porter Creek. The minimum upset price was set at $227,000.

He said coming up with the bid price was a bit of “random guess work”, assuming there would be multiple bidders and that the minimum bid was set at fair market value. Cousins said he opted to keep his bid as close as possible to the minimum price.

The process would impact how land is developed and the price of any homes built.

“If the land owner uses most of the money to buy the land, they won’t have much left to develop a suitable property,” he said. “Alternatively it will inflate the selling price of the development and push retail pricing ever further.”

Meanwhile, bids on the other two tendered sites came from numbered companies.

34353 Yukon Inc. submitted a bid of $302,000 for the 0.248 ha property at 67 Wann Rd., which has an easement attached to it on the east side. The minimum price had been set at $249,000.

535683 Yukon Inc. came in with a bid of $272,000 for the 0.116 lot at 119 Wilson Dr. in Granger. The minimum upset price was $249,000.

Developers will be responsible for putting in services to the properties with three year building requirements attached to each.

McDowell explained the territory has heard interest in having the private sector more involved in land development so this came about as a pilot project to explore the interest and capacity of the private sector, McDowell said.

Community Services officials said in a previous statement: “The Yukon government hired a licensed third-party appraiser who determined the market value of the land. The price of the land reflects the non-serviced market value, which otherwise would be higher to include the cost for YG to provide the services.”

Finally two properties that went up for sale through the more traditional lottery method came out with the greatest response with 99 applicants vying for one of the two Cowley Creek properties at 55 and 59 Salmon Trail.

Jessica Malchow was the first to have her name drawn, securing her first choice of 55 Salmon Trail, a 1.03 ha lot priced at $209,000.

Vanessa Brault was next. She had listed 55 Salmon Trail as her first choice, while also stating her interest in the 1.05 ha $212,000 59 Salmon Trail if 55 was not available.

While Malchow and Brault will have the first chance to purchase the properties, government staff also drew out the 97 other names to establish an order to who will be next on the list should either prospective buyer not go ahead with the purchase.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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