Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Planned sale of city lands shows value miscalculation

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The pending sale of three civic properties reveals senior administrators had badly miscalculated the value of the land when negotiating with developer Shindico.

City hall is about to sell the three parcels of land for almost $1.7 million -- properties the administration wanted to trade to Shindico for the company's land on Taylor Avenue where the new No. 22 fire paramedic station was built, which Shindico had valued at $900,000.

What's up for sale

 

A look at the sale of three civic properties:

 

200 Berry St.

The old St. James fire station.

Proposed sale price $257,000.

The buyer plans to use the property for multi-family residential or a single-family residence.

 

1710 Grosvenor Ave.

The old River Heights fire station.

Proposed sale price $429,000.

The buyer plans to convert the building into a daycare operation.

 

409 Mulvey Ave. East

A vacant parcel of city land thrown into the Shindico land deal without the city knowing its market value.

Proposed sale price $1 million.

Developer plans to construct a 12-storey, 68-unit apartment block on the site.

 

"Our (administration) should not have gone down the road of a straight-up land swap (with Shindico)," Coun. Jeff Browaty said. "We should have put the properties up for an open bid in the first place."

An administrative report states two old fire-paramedic halls will be sold for a combined $686,000 and a third parcel of vacant land will be sold for $1 million.

Details of the three deals are contained in next week's agenda of the property, planning and development committee report.

Browaty, chairman of that committee, said the sale prices of the three parcels do not support Shindico's claim in its dispute with the city over the value of the Taylor Avenue land.

Browaty (North Kildonan) said city staff was willing to throw in a third parcel of land in the Shindico deal, without knowing its market value.

The fire-paramedic hall replacement program went $3.2 million over budget ($18.5 million versus the original $15.3 million) and could go higher if the city has to pay more than $1 million to Shindico for the Taylor Avenue property, which is now going to an expropriation process.

The Ernst & Young audit into the program was critical of the decision by former CAO Phil Sheegl to let former fire chief Reid Douglas handle the negotiations with Shindico, finding Douglas didn't have the expertise or the staff resources to negotiate with Shindico.

Shindico has disputed the audit findings, claiming its actions saved the city millions of dollars.

Coun. John Orlikow said he takes little comfort in knowing the proceeds from the sale will be going to cover the cost of the Taylor Avenue purchase.


-- Santin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2014 A4

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