Port Alberni has put a call out for developers interested in transforming its waterfront Somass sawmill site into a vibrant mixed-use area.
The city bought the 43-acre property, with five parcels including the mill site, from Western Forest Products for $5.3 million last year.
It has now issued a request for expressions of interest from both developers and potential users with concepts for all or part of the mill site.
The closing date is Oct. 22.
Port Alberni is keen on seeing the waterfront land redeveloped with housing, parks, paths and some light industry.
Mayor Sharie Minions said there has been “overwhelming interest in the property.”
The request for expressions of interest is intended to result in formal submissions and give the city the opportunity to narrow down potential developers and users, she said in a statement.
It will be followed by a request for qualifications later this year, leading to a short list of qualified development partners.
After that, Port Alberni may choose to issue a request for proposals and make a final choice in 2023.
After the 2018 election, Port Alberni council made acquiring and redeveloping the Somass lands and adjacent parking lot a priority, Minions said.
The city’s strategic plan said access to the waterfront and ensuring a thriving waterfront economy are two key goals.
Last year, a senior city staff member said the cost to clean up the mill site is estimated at between $600,000 and $1 million.
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