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Clifford building lots hot property

by Patrick Raftis

CLIFFORD - Building lots owned by the Town of Minto have become hot properties in this village, generating a bidding war among four prospective purchasers in one recent case.

In January of 2013 the town paid $440,000 to purchase all the former CN Rail line property in Clifford (including Lots 294 to 327 on Ann Street); the line north of the Ann Street lots to West Heritage Street and the line from the south end of the Clifford to Minto’s 13th Line.

The land was acquired as part of the settlement of a lawsuit against the town by a developer.

At the time, council agreed to keep enough land to develop a trail system and sell some lots over time to offset the land acquisition.

“At the time we thought well, maybe we’ll sell one or two lots a year over the next 20 years because of the demand in Clifford and eventually recover our costs,” CAO Bill White told council at the March 7 meeting.

After servicing a portion of the land, the town had sold all 14 serviced lots for $22,500 by the summer of 2016.

However, one conditional offer lapsed in February and White advised past and current purchasers and others who had expressed interest that one lot may be available. Within 24 hours four offers were received for the lot, ranging from $22,500 to $28,000.

“The challenge is that the four offers came in response to an email giving notice rather than a formal bid process,” explained White in a written report.

“The formal process would have allowed for sealed offers to be submitted on a set date. While the increased price in the offers was not influenced by town staff, all parties are aware that multiple offers are in and some have expressed interest in increasing their price or closing quickly and taking a building permit this spring.”

White noted the response “makes it clear” the current price of $22,500 is too low.

“In 2013 this price was competitive with other lots in Clifford ... It is great to have interest but the price must also be fair relative to private lots in the market,” White explained in the report. He added staff was contemplating asking council to increase the price to $30,000 for further lots if they were serviced this year,

Council decided to return all four offers and ask the potential purchasers to submit a sealed bid. The minimum bid will be $28,000.

Mayor George Bridge said the cost of servicing an additional seven lots from the parcel obtained in the 2013 purchase is being factored into the 2017 budget.

“Once we know the costs of bringing those other ones on, I think we need to set a better price for those,” Bridge stated.

 

March 17, 2017

 
 

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