New Brunswick

$230M Fundy Quay 'closing in': Saint John Development Corp.

The Saint John Development Corporation says it's close to announcing a $230-million overhaul of the Coast Guard site, as soon as an anchor tenant commits to leasing approximately 50,000 square feet, or more.

Also expected next year is a harbour hopper boat service and a two-floor restaurant next to Pugsley Wharf

"We're closing in" on plans for the old coast guard site, says Kent MacIntyre of the Saint John Development Corporation. (Brian Chisholm)

The Saint John Development Corporation says it's close to announcing a $230-million overhaul of the former Coast Guard site, as soon as an anchor tenant commits to leasing approximately 50,000 square feet, or more. 

"It's still alive and kicking," said general manager Kent MacIntyre when asked about the vision that was floated in 2003 to invigorate the waterfront.

"We're closing in on it."

MacIntyre says he's dealing with a Canadian developer from out of province who loves port cities.

He says it's someone who can muster the private capital to build 600,000 square feet of mixed hospitality, retail, residential and commercial space. 
Back in 2003, SJDC revealed an ambitious plan to generate $700 million in new development on the land adjacent to Saint John's harbour. (CBC)

He wouldn't say who it was and declined to provide CBC with conceptual drawings.

"I don't want to usurp his announcement," MacIntyre said.  "He wants to make an impression."

Once that significant piece is in place, he says he's confident the capital campaign to refurbish Loyalist Plaza will also pick up momentum. There's been interest expressed in developing assets in the plaza that would also come with naming rights, such as a performing arts stage and a splash pad.

"We will get really serious traction on Loyalist Plaza once the Fundy Quay development gets announced," he said. 

Ambitious plans

Also expected next year is a harbour hopper boat service and a two-floor restaurant next to Pugsley Wharf, built by Dennis Campbell, the CEO of Ambassatours in Halifax. 

Thirteen years ago, the corporation revealed an ambitious plan to generate $700 million in new development on the land adjacent to Saint John's harbour. 

Drawings contained in that plan show a vibrant, urban landscape that stretches from the Hilton, all along the harbourfront, to the former Lantic Sugar refinery site. 

So many people don't realize the complexity of what we deal with.- Kent MacIntyre, SJDC

MacIntyre insists much has been accomplished.

"We negotiated the purchase of the Coast Guard site from the federal government," he said.

"It generates over $300,000 in leasing. So it's not like it just sits there and doesn't generate revenue."

Since purchasing the site, MacIntyre says SJDC has recovered $2 million of the $2.8 million purchase price.

"We're the folks that did Harbour Station, built the pedway system, the renovations for the Imperial Theatre."

"Harbour Passage is the brainchild of our organization and we actually built it," he said.

Long history

The Saint John Development Corporation has its roots in a 1980 act in the provincial legislature which created the Market Square Corporation. 
Kent MacIntyre says he's confident the capital campaign to refurbish Loyalist Plaza will pick up momentum once the Fundy Quay project is announced. (Courtesy Saint John Waterfront Foundation)

Its purpose was to manage the development of Market Square, which was funded by three levels of government. 

The development corporation remains the head lessor and operates the parking garage underneath. 

"It generates $1.4 million a year that we administer through this office," said MacInytre. 

The corporation has also set its sights on promoting in-fill development.

"So many people don't realize the complexity of what we deal with," said MacIntyre, one of two full-time staff in SJDC.

"Even though we're small, we deal with a lot."

The Saint John Development Corp. is scheduled to go before Saint John Common council on July 25 to provide an update on its work.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story reported the cost of the overhaul of the Coast Guard site to be $320 million, but two numbers were reversed in error. The actual cost is $230 million.
    Jun 30, 2016 3:10 PM AT

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