After two years looking for a buyer to develop Thetis Cove, investors that assumed ownership of the foreclosed property are forging ahead.
View Royal council approved a permit allowing work to resume on the first phase of development, which includes subdivision of 19 single-family bare-land strata lots backing onto a 15-metre wide strip of ocean side park. The greenspace includes a public walking trail and beach access that a developer would build and donate to the Town.
The owners want to market the strata lots in hopes of attracting development partners in the project.
Deane Strongitharm, a consultant for the current investor-owner group identified as numbered company, said contractors could be hired to prepare the lots, but ideally a development firm will come forward take the reins.
“We hope this will act as a catalyst, that once work is going ahead somebody will come forward and want to be a part of it,” Strongitharm said.
The 8.5 acre property at the end of Hallowell Road, along ocean front behind Admirals Walk, is zoned for 250 units, the bulk of which had been planned within eight- and four-storey condo buildings by Thetis Cove Estates Ltd., the previous owner.
The current permit deals with the 19 lots and parkland only, and Strongitharm said work on that three acre portion could be underway in late spring.
Townhouse and condominium buildings, and commercial space will be considered in future phases.
View Royal Coun. John Rogers, chair of the Town’s planning and development committee, said he was encouraged to see signs of life from the site.
“We obviously need to support the owners in the steps they need to take to keep the development moving,” he said. “They’re not asking for rezoning. The density we already approved is what they’re working with.”
Additional amenities and conditions for development negotiated with the previous owner when zoning was granted have no force on the current owner.
However Strongitharm told council there are still plans to provide over $2 million in public amenities — including the parameter walkways, a public park and construction of a public plaza on the site — with delivery spread throughout the phasing.
Considerable environmental restoration work will also be needed on the long-time industrial property, which had previous lives as a lumber mill and a ferry refueling station.
The previous $120 million Thetis Cove development plan, which had been in the works at least since 2005, collapsed in the summer of 2009 after a major investor pulled out.
View Royal had also wrangled with the previous owner about the property being used as an illegal dump site and an access point for people living on boats in the cove.