New Brunswick

Moncton trades downtown parking lot for Castle Manor lawn

The City of Moncton is entering into an agreement with Galco Atlantic Investments Ltd, that will see a large portion of the city-owned Robinson street parking lot traded for the green space around Castle Manor.

City gives land worth three times more than the Castle Manor lawn — plus unstated amount of cash

Castle Manor land deal

5 years ago
Duration 1:41
The city of Moncton is cutting a deal with a local developer to save Castle Manor's trees and green space. 1:41

The city of Moncton is entering into an agreement with Galco Atlantic Investments that will see a large portion of the city-owned Robinson Street parking lot traded for the green space around Castle Manor.

Provincial assessment of the downtown parking lot assesses the parcel of land at $790,400, while the lawn surrounding Castle Manor is assessed at $258,900.

They city is also paying cash to Galco, but Kevin Silliker, the city's director of economic development, would not say how much the city is paying.

City council approved the transactions at the city council meeting on Oct. 5, but the contracts have not been signed by all parties yet.

Silliker said when all the agreements are signed, the city will release more information about the land exchange.

He said the city negotiated the deal to protect Castle Manor's surrounding green space.

"It was the value of the heritage building, the value of the sight lines to the heritage building, the value of the mature trees on that property that spoke to council and that is ultimately the biggest reason why the transaction went through," he said.

"There is a cost to protecting heritage property, there is a cost to maintaining green space in our community." 

The red line surrounds the property the city is trading to Galco Atlantic Investment Network Ltd. for the lawn at Castle Manor. This downtown lot is valed at $790,400 by Service NB's land registry. (Google Maps)
Castle Manor is owned by developer Jay Tse along with other investors from British Columbia.

The property was purchased by the group in October 2014. Tse said they paid $475,000 for the building, but the surrounding green space is still owned by Galco Atlantic Investments.

Silliker said, as a private business, Galco Atlantic Investments was free to develop the land as it wanted.

He pointed out the property was at the heart of a controversy in 2011. Steve Gallant, the president of Galco and a local developer, cut down some of the the large trees on the property.

Protesters camped out on the land to save the trees, many of which are still standing.

Both parties say the deal has been in the works for approximately two years. At the Oct. 5 city council meeting, Coun. Pierre Boudreau thanked Galco for its patience.

"I want to specifically commend Galco Atlantic Investments Network limited for their co-operation in arriving at, what in my opinion is, a good deal for all parties involved and for the future of the downtown," he said.

Development desired

The red line surrounds the property being traded by Galco Atlantic Investments Network Ltd for a parking lot downtown. This property is assessed at $258,900 at Service NB's land registry. (Google Maps)
Gallant, said he's happy with the deal that sees him receive a piece of downtown property with an assessed value three times more than the lawn at Castle Manor, plus an undisclosed amount of money.

Gallant said has plans to develop the parking lot, but won't give any details about what he plans to build there.

Silliker said it's the city's hope that some sort of development will go up.

"Certainly the city has a pretty well communicated endeavour to see more downtown development."

"It would be a building, it would be you know commercial, retail, office, development of some sort," said Silliker.

The lot contains about 70 parking spaces. If Gallant doesn't develop the parcel of land, Silliker said the city has the option to buy it back "fair market value".

"But for all intents and purposes we expect on the short term the parking is going to be maintained as parking."

Small parcels of the parking lot are being sold to the Peace Centre and the Capitol Theatre for $1.

"As we looked at the parking lot area," said Silliker, "we naturally considered who are some of the other stakeholders in that area."

Both buildings back onto the parking lot. Silliker said the Capitol Theatre's loading dock and the Peace Centre's access ramp were both built on public property, each will own the land once the deal goes through.

The city said negotiations are finished, and the city expects it to be a done deal by November.