The City of Saint John's plans to revitalize the harbour front hit another snag Tuesday as Moosehead announced they wouldn't be building a small-batch brewery on the site of the old Coast Guard station.

This isn't new. The site has seen many such failures to launch over the past 13 plus years.

November 2003

The city released its vision for revitalizing the harbour, which included development the Coast Guard site.

January 2005

Saint John Council gave the go ahead to the Saint John Development Corporation to issue development proposals.

The council was hoping for at least three interested parties to step forward

November 2005


In 2003 the city released its vision for reviatalizing the harbour front, which included development at the old Coast Guard station. (CBC)

It was reported at the time a $75 million development spread out over 10 years at the site was in the works.

The development was to include a hotel, condos, townhouses and more.

The Hardman Group was said to be behind the development.

April 2008

The city was still in talks with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans over the transfer of the site.

February 2010

Still no sign of development at the site.

Waterfront Development chair Charles Swanton was still optimistic about the future of the project.

"I think the interest from the public remains pretty high in [the] waterfront, and we don't plan on letting them down. We're going to forge right ahead," said Swanton

February 2011

The Saint John Waterfront Development Corporation was still in talks with the Hardman Group to open a hotel on the site back in 2011.

It was just one week earlier that the city had announced their purchase of the site from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for $2.8 million.

Even at the time however there were concerns about opening a new hotel in the city, with some industry insiders saying there wasn't enough demand for a new hotel.

"I think you need to give it a little breathing time before you start bringing in new hotels in town," said André Lavoie, who was vice-president of the hotels division with Château Hotels, at the time.

But Bill Hardman, then president of the Hardman Group, was still optimistic about the planned hotel.

"But I think in the long run it's a great hotel site, it's a great hotel property and it will, it will happen,  it's just a question of when," said Hardman at the time.

November 2011


“After year three-and-a-half, year four, you start to lose confidence in the schedule and your partners start to lose confidence in you and the fact that the project can proceed because the date is always moving,” said Colin Whitcomb, executive vice-president of the Hardman Group when the group scrapped plans to develop the site. (CBC)

The Hardman Group scrapped all plans to build a hotel on the site.

The over five year wait for the land transfer from the department to the city to go through was cited by group as a major factor for the change of heart.

Kent MacIntyre was still optimistic about the site.

"It's the central, most valued piece of property in the city of Saint John and we really want to make sure this is done well," said MacIntyre.

July 2012

The city completed payments on the site and announced an announcement was coming sometime that year.

Coun. Shirley McAlary, who is now the deputy mayor, spoke about what the new development, which had not been announced, would mean for the city.

"Not only will the city get the money from the land once it's developed — and they'll get the taxes from the land — but it will be just a wonderful assets for the city because it's going to bring people here," said McAlary.

November 2012

A deal was close to being signed.

The Saint John Waterfront Development Corporation said the project was estimated to be between $80 and $100 million.

"The end is near for this project for developing that site. I can safely say that," said MacIntyre.

July 2013


"The end is near for this project for developing that site. I can safely say that," said MacIntyre, pictured here in 2016, back in 2012. (Brian Chisholm)

Just a few more weeks. That was the message coming from the city about a deal estimated to be worth $100 million.

It would come at some cost to the city. The city would be on the hook for $200,000 for environmental cleanup and repairs to the seawall.

"They weren't interested in an environmental cleanup, they weren't interested in the seawall. They said look, 'You just give us a buildable site, we'll come to your city and build,'" said MacIntyre.

June 2016

Once again, the city was close to announcing what would now be a $230 million development at the site.

"We're closing in on it," said MacIntyre.

MacIntyre told the CBC that he was dealing with an out of province Canadian developer who loves port cities.

September 2016


Mayor Don Darling with Saint John MP Wayne Long, and Moosehead executives Andrew and Patrick Oland after the announcement of the new brewery. (Twitter)

Moosehead Breweries, looking to tap into the growing craft beer market, announced a new small-batch brewery would be built on the site.

The structure would include a brewery as well as a tap room and retail space.

The brewery was expected to open by the end of 2017.

January 2017

Moosehead Breweries scrapped their plan to build a small-batch brewery on the site.

Budget shortfalls were cited as the reason for the change of heart.

"The overall project costs ended up being significantly higher than anticipated," said Moosehead spokesperson Karen Cousins.

Shortly after the announcement, Saint John Mayor Don Darling released a statement trying to ease doubts about the waterfront property over 13 years after the first plan to develop the site was announced.

"The waterfront development site at the Port of Saint John is a prime real estate opportunity. The entire uptown core and waterfront represents significant opportunities for development and growth," said Darling.