Charlottetown council not well informed about $1.2 million parking lot sale, Tweel says

·2 min read
The city parking lot which is being sold to Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. (Brian Higgins/CBC News - image credit)
The city parking lot which is being sold to Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. (Brian Higgins/CBC News - image credit)

A Charlottetown councillor says he doesn't think he and his colleagues "made an informed decision" about the sale of a city-owned parking lot recently purchased by the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.

The Rodd had been using the lot through an arrangement with the city going back decades, where the hotel didn't pay a rental fee for the lot's use, but paid the property taxes and maintenance costs.

Negotiations for the sale of the parking lot began in 2017, and city council approved of the sale in November 2020.

At Monday evening's council meeting, Coun. Mitch Tweel voted against a lot consolidation motion to finalize that deal.

Tweel said he voted against the motion because there wasn't much time for council to make an informed decision.

"We didn't really have enough time to assess and evaluate what the fair market value price was and what was the rationale of selling the property," he said.

Property prices have risen

The lot was appraised in 2017 and Tweel said market prices have gone up since then.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC
Sarah MacMillan/CBC

"Properties, particularly in the downtown core, have risen dramatically," he said.

"The fair market value of 2020 would differ dramatically from the fair market value assessment that was done in 2017."

Council didn't put the land sale up for a tender report, which Tweel said is a requirement.

"I certainly wasn't comfortable supporting that resolution, that's why I posted back in 2020 and that's why I posted here again."

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

Mayor Philip Brown said the city isn't required to tender the land sale, and decided to sell to the Rodd because the hotel has been using the land for decades.

He agrees with Tweel that the fair market value has differed over the years.

"These negotiations started a couple of years ago. So what was put on the table at the time, I think as a city corporation, we were working in good faith," Brown said.

"If a councillor had those issues regarding assessments two years ago and assessment [Monday], that should have been brought up when we discussed it last year."

Price probably risen

The parking lot deal is not the only transaction lately involving the city and the hotel company.

Last August, the city bought an office building from Rodd Developments for $1.6 million dollars. That building is across the street from the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.

Rodd Developments declined comment other than to confirm talks involving the properties had been going on for years.

CBC spoke to one real estate agent who said the value of the parking lot sold by the city has probably gone up — but so has the value of the office building the city bought from Rodd two years ago.

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