Waterfront properties ready for sale

Waterfront properties ready for sale Lots in the Motorways area along the Whitehorse waterfront could go up for sale next month.

Lots in the Motorways area along the Whitehorse waterfront could go up for sale next month.

If city council approves a bylaw to sell the land, nine properties between First Avenue and Second Avenue adjacent to Keish Street and Black Street could go up for sale on March 15. The lots will be released by tender and will be sold to the highest bidder. Bids will be accepted until April 5.

The city wants the land to be developed for both homes and businesses. The land near the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, Whitehorse Public Library and the Greyhound bus terminal is mainly used for parking right now.

In March 2008, five properties were put up for sale. No one bid on them. Developers found the zoning regulations, design guidelines and parking requirements too restrictive.

In November of that year, nine properties were put out for tender after the city changed some building requirements for the area. No bids were received then, either. In 2010, the city learned some of the soil in the area needed to be cleaned up before building could begin. That work was completed late last year.

At city council Monday night, Pat Ross, the city’s land development supervisor, assured council the city will make money from selling the land. The smaller properties have a minimum value of just over $200,000. The largest lot is valued at just under $790,000.

And he’s confident the lots will sell this time. “The area’s kind of grown up a bit,” he said Tuesday afternoon. Since 2008, the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre has been built, and there’s more activity at Shipyards Park.

Because there’s not a lot of land available for businesses to develop downtown, he hopes businesses find the area attractive, he said.

“It’s a different area now. And the area will only continue to grow as more development happens in that area and the waterfront continues to evolve.”

If some properties aren’t sold this spring, they will be sold over the counter, said Ross. The city owns three properties along First Avenue. The city is keeping these properties for now, but if this bylaw passes it could sell them at a later date.

(Meagan Gillmore)