By John Swartz
It appears the City of Orillia has negotiated a deal with one of the proponents to redevelop waterfront lands the City owns on the west side of Centennial Drive. A public meeting to dispose of the land has been called for July 30. Two companies, FRAM Building Group and TPI Acquisitions submitted proposals. A third company, Amico Properties was invited to submit a proposal but failed to do so.
In May Council chose to negotiate with one of the proponents, but did not disclose which one had the winning proposal. At the time SUNonline/Orillia was told there were still points to negotiate, including whether the developer would acquire the land outright, what price, and what kind of guarantees there would be the final development would resemble the proposal submitted. The latter is important because until now the City has controlled the process, developing the vision (which also includes reconstruction of Centennial Drive and waterfront park improvements – both of which play into the desirability for developers), but once ownership passes developers, without other guarantees, only have to conform to the Official Plan and zoning by-laws.
With the announcement of the special meeting of council July 30 at 1 p.m. regarding the waterfront development project and notice issued the City intends to dispose of the lands in question, the land will in fact be sold to one of the developers. The City of Orillia bought the largest parcel, 70 Front Street North, in 2016 for $9.3 million. Four other adjoining parcels, like the former railway lands, came into the City’s possession over several decades.The City also has thousands invested in legal fees and costs for studies to create a vision for its use.
The public can submit comments in writing to the City’s manager of real estate, Jay Gronc, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon July 28. Any comment made will become part of the public record. Comments will be taken into consideration before a decision by council is made.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)