Discussion continues on the proposed closure and sale of a downtown city laneway to Kelson Group as part of its planned $140-million residential development.
Earlier this fall, the property management company announced plans for City Gardens, a proposed development to include six new multi-family buildings — including two of the tallest towers in Kamloops — for as many as 1,000 residents.
It is slated to cover 1.5 blocks south of Battle Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Needed for the project is laneway between Nicola and Battle, as well as a portion of Nicola Street. A decision on the proposed sale has not yet been made.
To be carried out in closed council meetings, the decision is anticipated y by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, KTW reached out to the city to discuss the process by which such road sales occur. City of Kamloops CAO David Trawin explained that in the case of unused streets or somebody approaching the city to purchase a street or laneway, the city looks at whether or the road is or can be deemed surplus. He noted Kelson Group owns land on both sides of the majority of the lane.
“They’ve requested it in order to facilitate their entire development,” Trawin said, noting without the laneway, the development would be broken into two. “Similar to what we would have needed to do for the performing-arts centre (between Third and Fourth avenues and Seymour and St. Paul streets), we have the lane going right down the middle.”
If council agreed, the city would close the lane and transfer ownership at a cost to the developer. Trawin said such sales are negotiated and typically based on appraised and/or market value of the land. If utilities are situated beneath the road, the expense to move them would be paid for by the developer. Trawin said he does not know if there are utilities beneath the road requested by Kelson.
In the event of the city opting itself to close a lane or roadway, the city would provide adjoining properties first right of refusal.
The city routinely releases information related to closure of laneways throughout the city, selling off portions to nearby properties. The city previously sold off a portion of roadway adjacent to Yew Street in North Kamloops to Arpa Investments for development of its Spirit Square residential project.