New Brunswick

Business group plans development for Saint John Coast Guard site

Saint John Council has granted an option to a local business group to develop the former Coast Guard site on the city waterfront.

The new project could cost $200M in construction

A conceptual, mixed use model from an earlier Fundy Quay development proposal. (City of Saint John)

Saint John Council has granted an option to a local business group to develop the former Coast Guard site on the city waterfront.

The six acres (2.4 hectares) site sits at the foot of King Street adjacent to Market Square.

Fundy Quay Developments Inc. lists Dr. David Elias, his adult sons, Alex and Chris of Rothesay, and Wallace Floyd of Hampton as directors.

Dr. Elias, a physician, co-owns the nearby city hall office tower, and has a number of other development projects under his belt.

Rebuilding damaged sea wall

He expects to attract a mix of residential and commercial businesses to the waterfront site.

"Right now there's some positive market conditions that exist for residential, either rental residential or potentially condo residential," said Elias.

"We do know that there's also some positive market factors that exist right now for hotels."

Fundy Quay Developments has been granted a two year, $250,000 option on the property, as well as a potential one-year renewal.

Elias said he anticipates the first phase of the project will be worth $50 million with phased build outs potentially bringing the total to $200 million.

After a number of false starts on the site over the past decade, Coun. David Merrithew praised the new plan. 

"I am excited to see pen to paper to sign this agreement," said Merrithew. "I'll support it and so excited to do so."

The municipality will be responsible for rebuilding the damaged sea wall left by the Coast Guard, removing contaminated soil, and raising the overall level of the site by 1.5 metres.

Project in very early stages

The sea wall portion of the site preparation work alone is expected to cost $8.1 million.  

However, $3.2 million of that is already committed through the federal Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Fund. 

Further funding is being sought through a joint federal and provincial program.

The option deal anticipates the provincial government is willing to turn over an adjacent 0.7 hectare (1.7 acres) property where the previous Liberal government had planned to build a new museum.

Elias said the project is in its very early stages with a lot more work to be done to ensure it's viable.

He and his partners aren't going in with any deals already in the bag. However, he is optimistic partners can be found.

Elias described the development as "more probable than not."

About the Author

Connell Smith is a reporter with CBC in Saint John. He can be reached at 632-7726 Connell.smith@cbc.ca

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