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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2012, 6:55 PM
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[Moncton] Downtown Developments

Due to popular outcry, I'm creating a thread for discussions of development issues concerning downtown (and central) Moncton. I thought that the Wheeler ring road would make a good boundary for central Moncton.

Consider this a placeholder:







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Old Posted Mar 18, 2012, 3:54 AM
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From CBC

Moncton mulls 110 new parking spaces

Proponents say plan would boost business downtown
CBC News
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2012 7:18 PM AT

Moncton is considering adding dozens of new parking spaces it hopes will bring more people to the city's downtown.

The $230,000 parking plan was presented Friday to city council. It would add 110 new parking spaces in the urban core to lure people to city centre shops.

Jacques Dube, the city manager, hopes it will help revitalize downtown.

"Clearly we want to attract more business downtown and we want to keep the business we have here right now. This is extremely important to do that," he said.

"This is really an economic development initiative, more than a parking initiative."

Ingo Flohr, owner of Moncton's Unique European Style Footwear, said additional parking is a good start, but that the city needs to do more.

"If you compare this to other cities, like Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary, they do a lot for downtown, they have nice events, even they have free street parking," he said.

Pedestrian friendly

Most of the new spaces will be on Main Street between Highfield and Lewis streets. Others will be on a stretch of Queen Street between Alma and Robinson streets.

One plan for more parking spaces called for one-way streets and angled parking, as was present on Main Street in the 1940s. But the city said that would not work.

The architect who helped design the plan said pedestrian safety was also taken into account.

"The whole idea is to make it pedestrian friendly. By parking cars, traffic tends to slow down," Pierre Gallant said.

The spaces will be added this summer if council approves the parking plan.

The city hopes to add another 300 spaces in the future if the first phase is a success.
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Old Posted Mar 20, 2012, 3:04 PM
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I guess I should have posted this here instead...


City of Moncton identifies potential site for downtown entertainment centre

News 91.9


The City of Moncton has entered into an agreement with the option to purchase the Highfield Square Shopping Centre site , and has identified it as the preferred site for a proposed downtown multi purpose sports and entertainment centre. This option agreement would allow the City to purchase the property for $6 million dollars.
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Old Posted Mar 20, 2012, 3:33 PM
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Interesting......

And so it begins. I stated on a previous post in a different thread that the city needed to identify the site of the events centre so that developers could begin to make their plans for adjacent properties.

It will be intriguing to see what the Aquilinis will do with their city block. There are also soon-to-be-vacant properties a little further west on Main at the CIBC and Coast Tire locations. These are contiguous and could easily be combined to make an interesting development.......

The next year should be very interesting!!

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Old Posted Mar 20, 2012, 4:27 PM
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Moncton agrees to $6M land deal

Site is the preferred location for a downtown convention centre
CBC News Posted: Mar 20, 2012 12:39 PM AT Last Updated: Mar 20, 2012 2:31 PM AT

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said the city’s push for a downtown convention centre took a step forward Tuesday with council passing a motion to buy a parcel of land in the Highfield Square area.

The city’s finalized option agreement gives it the option to buy $6 million worth of downtown real estate prior to March 2, 2013. The cost to obtain the option agreement is $25,000.

“I’m extremely pleased that we can finally announce the preferred site and take the next step towards a multi-purpose sports and entertainment centre in our downtown,” LeBlanc said in a statement.

“It’s the perfect site for our new centre as it has frontage on Main Street, the location is a significant gateway to our downtown, and is within walking distance of neighbourhoods, many restaurants and other amenities in our downtown.”

The land is owned by Warren Gate Investment Inc.

Highfield Square officials announced in January that the shopping centre will be closing in the fall.

After reviewing many sites for a downtown convention centre, the top sites were shortlisted and then land appraisals and environmental assessments were undertaken.

The Highfield Square location was selected as the best option, based on site characteristics, location and transportation; costs of acquiring development land; urban context and physical elements; and economic impact and synergy with the downtown.

“With the selection of a preferred site, the dialogue with Monctonians can continue in order to more fully understand the costs, issues and the opportunities of such a major project,” LeBlanc's statement said.

“Ultimately, this project is subject to the approval of council, but this is another important step forward.”

A new downtown event centre could cost $100 million to construct, city officials have said. In December, the federal government rejected a request for $25 million in funding.

Moncton politicians have been talking about replacing the aging Moncton Coliseum for several years.

A new centre would help attract bigger entertainment acts during winter months, officials have said. The coliseum's seating capacity is 7,200 and the roof is too low for some major concerts.



they fleshed this out a little more on the radio. The city is paying (Warren Gate) $25,000 for the rights to purchase this property for $6M. This option will be in effect for one year. If the purchase does not happen by March 2013, then the option expires.

I updated the CBC article today as they added some new information in the meantime. In the paper today, they also noted that the $25k option was actually paid to Warren Gate Investments. They own the property. Crombie REIT owns the building.

About two years ago, somebody on the Moncton thread stated that the Highfield square site was actually owned by a company controlled by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. It looks like they were right!!
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Last edited by MonctonRad; Mar 21, 2012 at 1:26 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 20, 2012, 5:32 PM
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I think this is pretty good news. Sure, it's no guarantee of anything, but it's $25k well-spent on ensuring this "perfect spot" (IMHO) doesn't get away from us for the next year. And with the recent goings-on with certain left-coast property buyers, I think it's prudent.
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Old Posted Mar 20, 2012, 8:24 PM
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Are you implying that the Aquillinis were interested in Highfield Square too?
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 12:28 PM
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Here is the city's press release...


Council announces Agreement to Secure Option for proposed downtown centre


March 20, 2012

MONCTON – The City of Moncton has finalized an option agreement with the landowner of the Highfield Square Shopping Centre site. The City identified the Highfield Square lands as its preferred site for the proposed downtown multi-purpose sports and entertainment centre. The option agreement will allow the City to acquire the Highfield Square property for the purchase price of $6,000,000 (plus adjustments) prior to March 2, 2013. The cost to obtain the Option Agreement is $25,000.

“I’m extremely pleased that we can finally announce the preferred site and take the next step towards a multipurpose sports and entertainment centre in our downtown,” says Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc. “It’s the perfect site for our new centre as it has frontage on Main Street, the location is a significant gateway to our downtown, and is within walking distance of neighborhoods, many restaurants and other amenities in our downtown.”

“Obtaining the option on our preferred site took a lot of hard work and it is a crucial step in moving towards our goal of a downtown centre,” adds Mayor LeBlanc. “Now we can work towards finalizing our business plan and concentrating on what a downtown centre can look and feel like on this specific site.”

The City of Moncton considered many sites in our downtown as potential options. Each site was evaluated based on the following criteria:
site characteristics, location and transportation;
costs of acquiring development land;
urban context and physical elements; and,
economic impact and synergy with the downtown.

Moncton City Council evaluated all site options based on this criteria and determined that its preferred site was Highfield Square.

As part of the City’s due diligence, the top sites were shortlisted and land appraisals plus environmental assessments were undertaken. During the process, the owners of the Highfield Square Shopping Centre made it known to the City that they intended to close the shopping centre and redevelop the property.

“As for next steps, the citizen input obtained during the “Blue Sky” brainstorming session can now be applied to the actual location to develop site-specific renderings, explore partnership opportunities and discuss the financial implications with citizens,” concludes Mayor LeBlanc. “With the selection of a preferred site, the dialogue with Monctonians can continue in order to more fully understand the costs, issues and the opportunities of such a major project. Ultimately, this project is subject to the approval of Council, but this is another important step forward.”
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 2:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post

Are you implying that the Aquillinis were interested in Highfield Square too?
I have no inside knowledge at all. It just makes the most sense, in my personal opinion. If the City is lining up with the aquisition on the other corner, I honestly don't know. Plus I think that location has always been at the top or near the top of any shortlist for a place to put a new center. It's absolutely perfect size and location-wise.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 3:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorkuta View Post
I have no inside knowledge at all. It just makes the most sense, in my personal opinion. If the City is lining up with the aquisition on the other corner, I honestly don't know. Plus I think that location has always been at the top or near the top of any shortlist for a place to put a new center. It's absolutely perfect size and location-wise.
Thanks Vorkuta, but your instincts about "left coast" investors may be correct....

In the meantime, I heard a rumour from a (usually) informed source stating that the Aquillinis may actually be interested in building the events centre and then leasing it to the city. This would help to explain their interest in (and recent purchase of) the city block across the street.

The Aquillinis have considerable experience in this regard. They own the Vancouver Canucks and also own their arena (GM Place).

Also, the mayor was on CBC radio this morning and I believe he stated that even if no additional federal funding was forthcoming, that the city might still be interested in proceeding with this project as a "P3" initiative. Public private partnerships usually entail a private company building and maintaining a facility and leasing it to the government for general operations and management. The Aquillinis would be an obvious private partner......

I am convinced that the events centre will happen one way or another!
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Last edited by MonctonRad; Mar 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 3:18 PM
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I am convinced that the events centre will happen one way or another!
I get that feeling, too. I'm sure more is afoot than we know... I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Can't wait to see what this does to main street between there and City Hall.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 3:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
I am convinced that the events centre will happen one way or another!
For what it's worth, IMO, this is the sort of Large Scale project that should deserve it's own [Moncton] thread. It may be a hair too early so far, but with discussion ramping up it would be nice to see how this develops down the road.

The council certainly seems determined to make it happen, and I'm sure it will be a factor in the Municipal elections coming up. Not living in Moncton, what's the general feel among the population for getting the Centre done?
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 4:30 PM
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probably too soon for it's own thread, but I think once the formal announcement is made that a dedicated thread for this massive project should be created.

As far as the general consensus of the population is concerned, I would sum it up in one phrase - git'er done!!!

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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 9:14 PM
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This image shows exactly what the city has optioned....



It's interesting that not all of Highfield Square has been optioned. The old Sobeys store with be retained by Crombie REIT. The "Unitel" building is also not included in the transaction. The rest of the property however is part of the Events Centre proposal, extending eastward to include the parking lot as far as the subway. This BTW is directly across from the Aquillini block. This could make for some interesting synergies......
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 9:49 PM
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What is in the old Sobeys right now? Last I remember it was that Dexter's Flea Market, then some sort of discount furniture/mattress place. Is that still there?
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 10:46 PM
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Great news, a step in the right direction for Moncton for sure

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
It's interesting that not all of Highfield Square has been optioned. The old Sobeys store with be retained by Crombie REIT. The "Unitel" building is also not included in the transaction. The rest of the property however is part of the Events Centre proposal, extending eastward to include the parking lot as far as the subway. This BTW is directly across from the Aquillini block. This could make for some interesting synergies......
Yes, it is weird that the old Sobeys has not been included especially since physically attached to the building. Maybe Crombie or Warren-Gate are keeping their options open for potential development space adjacent to the new multi-use centre, not unlike the Aquilinis.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 12:42 AM
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Yes, it is weird that the old Sobeys has not been included especially since physically attached to the building. Maybe Crombie or Warren-Gate are keeping their options open for potential development space adjacent to the new multi-use centre, not unlike the Aquilinis.
An absolute genius strategy move on Crombie's part. Only give the city what they need. I'm sure Crombie is anxiously waiting to see blueprints just like everyone else...if they haven't seen proposals already.

Once those final plans have been drawn up and those orange tip stakes are finally hammered into the ground, anyone with land ownership in these area are sure to blinking dollar signs.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 1:11 AM
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Now that a preferred site has been selected, it's going to be a lot harder for the province to insist it gets built out in Irishtown
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Now that a preferred site has been selected, it's going to be a lot harder for the province to insist it gets built out in Irishtown
Din't the province have some extra land out by the casino? I mean after all, it would only make sense to have a DOWNTOWN event center by the far end of city limits right? ...
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 12:40 PM
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Downtown on-street parking pilot project info session: Mar 31 from 9-10am at Moncton City Hall

http://downtownmoncton.com/webcura/f...arch222012.pdf
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