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Details of Collingwood Terminals deal remain confidential for now

'If we didn’t have a project like the one before us, we would have to demolish them or maintain them ... Either way, it’s an expensive undertaking,' says mayor
File photo.

If you’ve ever wanted to see inside of the Collingwood Terminals, the town will be launching a lottery for 10 lucky residents to have a private tour.

At their regular meeting on June 17, council gave approval for staff to sign definitive (legal) documents with Streetcar Developments Inc. and Dream Unlimited Corp. for the redevelopment of the iconic terminals.

As part of the presentation, town staff discussed a plan to offer a tour of the inside of the terminals and the preparation of a time capsule to be opened in 100 years, both efforts to help get residents more excited about the project. The details for these public engagement activities will be coming out later. 

But what’s in the documents council has given direction for the town to sign is still being kept behind closed doors.

“I’m so excited to see this project move forward,” said Collingwood Mayor Yvonne Hamlin. “Anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to see these documents – which is everyone except council and the project team – they are lengthy, detailed and complex.

“I know members of our community are frustrated because they’re not public documents. They are deals, and at this stage they are all confidential,” she added. “This is a win-win for our community.”

Definitive documents are binding legal contracts created and negotiated based on the memorandum of understanding. They include the development agreement, agreement of purchase and sale and lease agreement.

Hamlin noted that according to current financial statements for the town, the Terminals are an unfunded liability to the tune of $14 million.

According to the last study completed on behalf of the town by Tacoma Engineers in 2018, the estimate to fix up the terminals to continue their use as a decommissioned industrial site was about $10 million at that time, while the estimated cost to demolish the building including environmental cleanup was approximately $5 million.

“If we didn’t have a project like the one before us, we would have to demolish them or maintain them ... so it’s safe for workers. Either way, it’s an expensive undertaking,” she said.

In 2022, Streetcar Developments and Dream Unlimited were named the successful proponents for the redevelopment of the Collingwood Terminals.

In March 2023, Streetcar Developments president Les Mallins came before council as part of a public meeting to reveal his plans for the terminals, which is expected to come in with an estimated price tag of more than $200 million.

The plans presented in March include building a 10-floor hotel out of the grain silos portion of the building. The ground-floor plans include a restaurant and cafés, an activity rental shop, and cultural and community spaces.

Typical hotel floors — planned to fill floors two to nine — will include single silo rooms (450 square feet) and double silo rooms (900 square feet).

The 10th and top floor will be built as one large space on top of the existing terminals structure to be called “The Bin Floor,” housing a bar and restaurant, outdoor terraces, event spaces, a fitness facility and a wellness centre.

On the east side of the building connected to the terminals will be a 24-storey (from ground to top) residential condominium tower.

Also included in the plans is the redevelopment of the spit, Millennium Park and the area surrounding the terminals to create more public recreation options, which include trails, rock climbing, zip-lining and roof-walk options.

The developer also intends to redesign the north portion of park adjacent to the terminals to build a swimming pier and space for non-motorized water activities for the summer months, and a skating rink and warming stations in the winter months.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the project was finalized and signed by the town and the developers in June 2023. Although the MOU in its entirety remains confidential, the town and the proponent agreed to release specific business terms that the parties deemed are of high interest and importance to the community.

Included in those details were that the MOU includes terms for selling 0.2 acres of the spit land to Streetcar for the proposed residential development. The remaining 19.8 acres, on what is known as the spit, would remain under the town's ownership.

However, the memo also proposes a life lease of about 0.8 acres of land to Streetcar to accommodate the overhaul of the silos to create the hotel and public amenities.

Additional details from a staff report at that time note the town's financial commitment to the project is about $15 million. As it's early in the process, the budget could change. 

In an interview with Village Media this past December, Mallins said that throughout the negotiations with the town, the project “has stayed true to what we’ve presented to the public.”

During discussion on Monday, Coun. Christopher Baines asked for more details on the timeline, specifically at what point the town would sell non-public portion of the land to the developer.

“We have a due diligence period that will be underway. Once that’s complete, we’re moving into a planning process. We anticipate that will take a couple of years,” said executive director of customer and corporate services Amanda Pegg.

Project manager Adam Gallant, through the town's communications manager, Christa Carter, later clarified the sale of the land is tied to the planning process which is anticipated to take about two years. 

Staff also confirmed that the project overall would happen in a phased approach, and more details on timing would be nailed down through the planning process.

At the end of discussion, council voted unanimously in favour of the town signing the definitive documents. Coun. Brandon Houston was absent.

For more information on the Collingwood Terminals project, click here.