Moncton selling downtown land for mixed-used 9-storey building

·4 min read
A nine-storey mixed-use building has been proposed for the northwest corner of Moncton's Main Street and Vaughan Harvey Boulevard.   (City of Moncton/Submitted - image credit)
A nine-storey mixed-use building has been proposed for the northwest corner of Moncton's Main Street and Vaughan Harvey Boulevard. (City of Moncton/Submitted - image credit)

Moncton council voted Monday to sell downtown property for an undisclosed amount to a developer pitching a mixed-use building with 10 per cent of the residential units described as affordable housing.

Rendering show a nine-storey building rising from what's now vacant land at the corner of Main Street and Vaughan Harvey Boulevard.

It's a busy intersection at the west end of downtown that's seen in-fill development in recent years as the city's downtown continues to see denser residential development.

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of selling the land to 717035 NB Inc., a company co-owned by Chad Blakney and Brent Crawford. Isabelle LeBlanc, a city spokesperson, said in an email the purchase price isn't being disclosed as it is considered "commercially confidential information" as the purchase and sale agreement has yet to be finalized and signed.

"This is a city changing development that can only proceed with the sale of the land at 1299 Main St.," Tanya Carter, the city's purchasing manager, said in a presentation Monday.

The plans were described as conceptual. While council has approved the sale of the key piece of land, the whole project would still require various approvals, which may include rezoning, public hearings and approval by the city's planning committee.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

The company was selected through a request for proposals process. It was the only submission.

Carter said that process asked for proposals with a building permit value of at least $10 million, underground parking, at least six floors, residential and commercial space. The city also encouraged inclusion of affordable housing.

Blakney told councillors the proposed building would have ground-floor commercial space, 147 residential units, and two floors of underground parking.

"Our vision is to also incorporate affordable housing units with energy efficient measures," Blakney, CEO of the company, said.

City of Moncton/Submitted
City of Moncton/Submitted

"Always great to see more affordable housing coming to the downtown area," Deputy Mayor Bryan Butler said, going on to ask how they define affordable.

Blakney said they are using the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. definition of affordable housing. That uses 30 per cent of the median household renter income before taxes for the Moncton area, which Blakney said equates to rent of $1,142 per month.

Blakney said in an interview after the meeting that the company is looking to secure funding through a CMHC program that encourages construction of energy efficient buildings.

He told council the company aims to have a 25 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases and energy consumption over the standard building code. The company is considering using geothermal, Blakney said, though drilling the wells "is going to be a little challenging."

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

"We're seeing a lot of building going up that's only being built to what's what's minimum minimal building standards," Blakney said in an interview.

"We want to build something that's much more energy efficient than what's on the market right now. And we also want to include affordable housing in it."

Blakney and Crawford also co-own a company called Homesol Building Solutions that performs energy assessments across Canada.

The company had already purchased several surrounding parcels of land, including a former garage on Main Street that has since been demolished and two homes on Atlantic Avenue that Blakney said were "uninhabitable." Property records show those purchases began in June last year through May this year.

Councillors were told one of the requirements for the site was that it wouldn't have direct road access from Main and Vaughan Harvey. Diagrams shown to city council show instead that Atlantic Avenue will be extended through what's now a small park to connect with Main. The company plans to have green space on the north side of the proposed building.

The sale agreement will include stipulations that construction must be complete by Oct. 31, 2025. The city has the right to repurchase the land if work hasn't started by Oct. 31, 2023. The company co-owners said in an interview that ideally they want to start work by this fall.

Mayor Dawn Arnold congratulated the developers.

"This is exactly what our vision was many years ago for our downtown revitalization- to create this kind of density and vibrancy in our downtown, and infill," Arnold said Monday.

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