Colwood mayor keen to work with development’s new owner

New life may be coming to the abandoned Colwood Corners development site.

But Colwood’s mayor is holding off organizing a parade to herald a restart on a potential project.

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Carol Hamilton is optimistic with the news Vancouver-based developer Onni will be taking control of the site that was to be Capital City Centre.

“They have some work to do. [Onni] is the identified proponent and development company that will be working with the courts. I think more importantly there’s the opportunity, with a fairly short sit-down time, that we are resuming an active project,” she said Friday.

The site has been idle since spring 2013 when League Assets had to stop construction due to insufficient financing. At this point, only a concrete parking garage has been built.

League has since filed for court-approved restructuring and is in the process of liquidating all assets with an eye on winding down all operations some time next year.

In the deal Onni has struck with League, Colwood stands to get $719,000 owed in taxes from the site. The city is not expecting any new project to mirror what League planned.

“I am encouraged to see what Onni brings forward and what they see that development could look like, but I’m pretty sure it is not going to be to the density and level League had previously portrayed,” Hamilton said. “I’m hoping they have an eye for that mixed-use opportunity.”

League had envisioned a $1.2-billion mixed-use development that, over 20 years, would include 12 residential highrise towers; four office towers; four-storey, wood-framed residential buildings with commercial components; two-storey townhomes; multi-storey office buildings and a public plaza.

Attempts to contact Onni Friday were unsuccessful.

On Thursday, the B.C. Supreme Court approved the restructuring plan Onni and League have come up with that will turn control of the site over to the new developer.

Under terms of the deal, Onni will loan League $17.5 million that will be used to pay property taxes and the secured creditors who hold mortgages to the land parcels that make up the Colwood site.

The court also approved the restructuring of the ownership of the Colwood development to give Onni control.

The agreement will see Onni put up another $8.9 million, part of which will go to unsecured creditors who have $135 million in claims against the partnership of League companies behind Capital City Centre through a bankruptcy proceeding.

In a note on its website, PwC said the transactions will be complete by mid- December.

At its height, League had six offices across Canada, employed 135 people, held 170 legal entities and had $418 million in assets. It also had $233 million in liabilities, owed $369 million to investors and had serious cash-flow problems.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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