Skepticism over offer to sell land to city
By Kim Guttormson, Calgary Herald May 2, 2009 7:40 AM
A developer's proposal to sell riverside land to the city so it can be turned into a park is being met with caution from interested parties, which approve of more green space but are wary of the cost.
Dolemo Development--through a Thursday newspaper ad--said it would be willing to sell its 16 hectares along the south side of the Bow River near Sarcee Trail for its appraised value, plus development costs to date.
While CEO Martin Dolemo wouldn't put a price to that, the land itself -- using the addresses from Dolemo's first application to develop the site--was assessed at just under $5 million last July.
"Green space along the Bow is vital and rare and irreplaceable,"
said David Baker, planning director for the Montgomery Community Association. "If the price was fair and market value and taxpayers get value for their money, great. If it just compensates a private developer's miscue in judgment, then no."
In December 2007, Dolemo announced plans to build a $1-billion private health club on the site, including a hotel, arenas and movie theatre. He said he intends to file a new development application in the next three months.
But given some opposition to developing the site, Dolemo said he'd also be willing to sell it to the city or someone else so it could be used as a park.
Ald. Gord Lowe said the city has a process to purchase land for parks "and it's capital-driven. It depends on if we have the money and if the land comes available."
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The quote by Baker hits the nail on the head. There is no way the city and its taxpayers should be paying for any bad judgement on the developers part. I would protest this potential sale if the city even entertains the idea of paying a price that would include Dolemo's development costs to date.