The developer behind the proposed Walmart-anchored shopping centre is having another crack at convincing councillors to approve its $100 million plan - this time with a $238,000 cheque in hand.
Smartcentres, whose 10-year-old bid ran into more trouble at last month's planning committee meeting, has now offered to put up the latest round of cash for more park enhancements within the West Cambie site and for "ecological" improvements within
nearby West Cambie Park.
The move is, in part, motivated by the potential loss of around half an acre of environmentally sensitive area (ESA) designated land within the proposed 14-acre shopping centre between Alderbridge Way and Alexandra Road, near Garden City Road.
Last month, city council's planning committee sent the application back to staff once more with concerns over the loss of the ESA and the impact of traffic coming into Richmond from out of town to shop at the new development.
However, in the revised report that was due to go before the committee Tuesday afternoon, the city's transportation director, Victor Wei, indicated that, of the 1,800 extra peak-hour weekend car trips expected, only 15 per cent of that is anticipated to come from Vancouver.
According to Wei's report, no extra traffic is expected from the east -
Queensborough has its own Walmart - and Delta to the south will soon have the new mega shopping centre on Tsawwassen First Nations land.
Some councillors were also worried about the possibility of the city not being able to acquire two properties on the site - needed to build a new realigned connector road at Alexandra and Leslie roads. It's an acquisition which, thus far, has eluded the developer and is now being handed to the city to complete, along with around $3.4 million of developer's cash.
City staff don't seem to have too much to offer in terms of alternatives, should the two homeowners fail to budge. Complicating the acquisition further are new details revealed in this week's report, which highlight how one of the owners earlier this year asked the developer for $2.4 million - three times the assessed property tax value - for his family's Garden City Road property.
If such a deal was to take place between the city and the owner, it would leave only $1 million in the pot to purchase the remaining property.
The owner told the News how a $2 million price tag had been tentatively agreed on with the developer in 2011 and he upped his demand by 40 per cent this year after the developer dropped their offer by the same percentage.
For the full story, visit www.richmondnews.com. Check out Friday's issue for an in-depth feaure on the 10-year saga.
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