The Department of National Defence has unloaded Shannon Park, a former military community in Dartmouth, in a three-way deal that sets aside land for a potential stadium, a Mi'kmaq land claim and a school.
The federal government's real estate arm — the Canada Lands Company — bought 33 hectares from the Department of National Defence on March 25, 2014 for $4 million in order to return the largely mothballed site to "productive use."
"It's a very enticing, useful, valuable piece of land on the waterfront with a multitude of potential uses and I think it's time to get moving on it," said Mike Savage, the mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Two years ago, the Halifax regional council identified the former military quarters as the preferred location for an outdoor sports stadium. Savage said that remains a possibility.
"I think a lot of people would like to see — whatever goes there — that there be some kind of a multi-use, community-used facility, whether it's for sports or whether it's for housing," Savage said.
"There's all kinds of potential."
Anatomy of a deal
The Department of National Defence disposed of Shannon Park in three pieces.
The Canada Lands Company bought 33 hectares, including buildings and land on the site for redevelopment.
Another 3.98 hectares was transferred to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The Millbrook band has an outstanding land claim on a portion known as Turtle Grove, which it says was the site of a former Mi'kmaq settlement.
The Canada Lands Company also bought an existing elementary school and 1.89 hectares of land for $313,000. Over the next year, Canada Lands will try to negotiate a sale to the Halifax Regional School Board, which wants to acquire the school.
Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade said on Tuesday that he expects to have the land transferred to the band's possession within months. The parcel includes water frontage.
"We are looking for economic development opportunities to increase the revenue stream for our community," Gloade told CBC News.
The chief declined to identify the deals the band is pursuing.
"Our plans haven't been determined as of yet and finalized," he said.
Canada Lands is currently carrying out due diligence on the property and will begin consultations with the Halifax Regional Municipality, which will ultimately have the final say on any development plan.
"Canada Lands will also be assembling a team of professionals that have had experience with redevelopments of this magnitude," Manon Lapensée, a spokesperson for the Canada Lands Company, told CBC News in a statement.
"Over time, after we have had a chance to complete our initial analysis we would like to introduce ourselves and begin consultations with all stakeholders in order to begin creating a vision and master plan for this property."