Sidney will be putting its fire hall up for sale later this year and the municipality is hoping to get more than $3 million for it.
Town council recently agreed to start the process of putting the fire hall on Third Street up for sale through a request for expressions of interest (EOI). It will also include the parking area directly next to the fire hall. The EOI will be issued to the development community by mid-to-late November of this year, with a potential closing date of January, 2018.
The Town is hoping to sell the land — a combined 42,500 square feet — to help fund the construction of its new, $14 million community safety building (CSB) that will house the fire department and local BC Ambulance station in a modern, earthquake-resistant facility. Sidney had initially gotten an evaluation of the site, stating they could get $2 million for it. A more recent evaluation revised that upwards to around $3.25 million.
The extra revenue the site could generate would help pay for increasing costs associated with the new CSB. Initial construction estimates had the facility at $10 million. Recently revised numbers — based on bids coming in well over budget and labour force issues in the region that are pushing costs higher — put the Sidney CSB at around $14 million.
Sidney plans to include a condition within the EOI that would require any development plans for the old fire hall site, to include a “minimum of 30 Town-controlled, public parking spaces to make up for the loss of existing parking.”
The site itself is zoned for commercial development (fire hall and existing parking lot), and could see the creation of mixed commercial and residential used in a new, tax-generating, development. Zoning also allows a building of up to six storeys.
According to the Town, submissions on the EOI “will be evaluated on not just the net proceeds, but on the merits of the associated development proposals and their compatibility with the Town’s Downtown/Waterfront Local Area plan and other strategic goals.”
While the EOI period is hoped to bring bid offers to the Town early in the new year, the new CSB is not expected to be substantially complete until late October, 2018.