Tenants to leave after J. D. Irving buys 8 Saint John homes
'Poor condition' homes part of 2 large land purchases by JDI in west Saint John since 2016
Tenants of eight homes and one business in west Saint John were notified this week they have four months to leave their rental properties after they were sold to J.D. Irving Ltd.
The eight homes at 864-898 Dever Rd., which were built in the late 1940s, belonged to Dexter Construction Ltd.
The deal, which closed in mid-December, also included a single commercial property at 850 Dever Rd.
Tenants have until May 31 to find new accommodations.
The notices come as J.D. Irving adds to its already substantial land holdings near the Greendale area of west Saint John, which include a warehouse at 730 Dever Rd. and a large rail yard owned by the New Brunswick Southern Railway Company Ltd, a JDI company.
'Very poor condition'
The residential units — a series of seven modest, white bungalows and one townhouse — are about 70 years old, according to Mary Keith JDI's vice-president of communications.
"A detailed City inspection confirms that some of the residential units are in very poor condition and require significant repairs for them to comply with the City's minimum property standards by-law," Keith said in an emailed statement.
"Our own inspection suggests the remaining units are in a similar state of disrepair. As a result, we no longer intend to rent these properties."
One of the units — half of a townhouse at 898-896 Dever Rd. — had already been vacant for some time, according to neighbours.
The company is "allowing the tenants to remain during this four-month period on a rent free basis," said Keith.
The monthly rent for the units is between $595 and $625 a month, meaning the tenants will receive between $2,380 and $2,500 in free rent .
Of the six residential tenants CBC contacted, none would would comment publicly on the sale.
Tenant 'not surprised'
Frank's Mobile Equipment Repair, which specializes in automotive, truck, and trailer repair, has rented a garage and truck bay bay at 850 Dever Rd. for about a year.
Business owner Frank Magee said he received a letter Wednesday morning indicating he and his three employees will have to leave by May 31, but he had a sense earlier that something had changed.
"Last week I called [Dexter] inquiring about renting extra space, and that's when they said they weren't going to continue renting it as a commercial property," Magee said. "They were dragging their feet on it and now I see why, because there was obviously a deal in place."
J.D. Irving offered Magee his last two months rent-free, which he called a fair deal.
"I'm a short-term tenant. They could have just given me 30 days and said 'Get out.' They gave me three months."
He said he wasn't surprised to hear Dexter Construction had sold the land to JDI.
"It's a big piece of land," Magee said, "and it's right beside Irving's [land.] They'd be the only ones who would be able to buy a large piece of land like that."
17 football fields
The land purchase in late 2017 is one of several that JDI has made recently along Dever Road.
Since fall 2016, the company has acquired about 14 hectares — an area roughly the size of 17 football fields with a total value of just under $4.9 million — in the neighbourhood.
The Dec. 21 deal encompassed about five hectares at 864-898 Dever Rd., which the company purchased from Dexter Construction Ltd. for $1,885,950.
Before that, in Sept. 2016, the company purchased 8.9 adjacent hectares from Maritime Paper Products for $3.3 million.
JDI, according to Keith, has "no development plans for the site."