Richmond announces sale of Oval Riverfront Lands



    RICHMOND, BC, March 26 /CNW/ - The City of Richmond announced today that
it has reached agreement to sell and lease the 18.6-acre Oval Riverfront Lands
to ASPAC Developments Ltd. for a total of $141 million.
    The Oval Riverfront lands will become the site of a world class urban
waterfront development surrounding the Richmond Oval, home of long track speed
skating for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
    The Oval development will include 12 to 14 mid-rise residential towers.
It will be the largest master planned neighbourhood in Richmond and will
include commercial residential, recreational and open park space along the
banks of the Fraser River's Middle Arm.
    "This is a momentous day for the City of Richmond," said Mayor Malcolm
Brodie. "This agreement will provide untold benefits for countless generations
of Richmond residents as it will allow us to reinvest in our community's
future. We look forward to working with ASPAC to create a highly livable new
neighbourhood. It will be a showcase for outstanding and sustainable design
and become a destination of choice for visitors from around the world."
    Established in 1993, ASPAC is best known as the developer of Coal
Harbour, transforming a former industrial site into an
internationally-recognized waterfront neighbourhood popular with both
residents and visitors.
    "Working with Richmond, we will create a world class legacy that is
worthy of this unique riverfront site," said Raymond Li, Senior vice president
of ASPAC. "The Oval Riverfront Lands will be a high-quality, sustainable,
residential neighbourhood, with diverse commercial amenities, extensive open
space, and enhanced public access to the area's most prominent assets, the
Fraser River and the recreational facilities created by the Richmond Oval."
    The City required $43 million from the Oval lands agreement proceeds to
support the completion of the Richmond Oval project. This agreement exceeds
that requirement and fulfils Council's commitment that no borrowing or
property tax increase would be used to fund the construction of the Oval.
    Council is considering options for the investment of the remaining
proceeds from the agreement. It is considering a proposal that the bulk of the
funds will be invested in a series of Community Legacy Funds, which will
preserve the principal and use investment proceeds to fund a variety of
initiatives.
    "The Oval Riverfront Lands are the last remaining portion of the
Brighouse Estates, which was purchased by the City more than 40 years ago,"
noted Mayor Brodie. "That wise investment provided for many of the civic
amenities we enjoy today and helped guide the development of our City Centre.
The legacy of the Brighouse Estates gave us the opportunity we have today and
we need to make a new investment in our community that will also pay dividends
for future generations."
    ASPAC will purchase five of seven parcels contained within the 18.6 acres
and sign a 60-year lease on the remaining two parcels. Four of the parcels at
the west end of the site are designated for high density residential, while
the remaining three, adjoining the Richmond Oval are designated for commercial
or mixed use development.
    ASPAC was selected through a Request For Proposal process initiated in
the spring of 2006. In addition to its financial commitment, ASPAC's proposal
met or exceeded the RFP requirements by:

    
    -   ensuring no net loss of public open space and extending the
        waterfront through "green fingers" from the dyke to the new River
        Road;

    -   increasing the publicly accessible open space within the privately-
        owned development area;

    -   improving and maximizing river views within and through the site;

    -   creating additional pedestrian friendly commercial activities along
        the entire west side of the Oval Lands; and

    -   committing to achieve LEED Silver standard for environmentally
        sustainable building design.
    

    ASPAC will begin work immediately on detailed site planning. ASPAC's
design team will be led by acclaimed architect James Cheng. An initial parcel
at the northeast corner is expected to be developed by 2009. While marketing
and some construction is expected to be launched over the next two years, most
site development will occur after 2010.
    The City has retained a half acre site adjoining the Oval Riverfront
Lands, which has been designated for a future affordable housing development.





For further information:

For further information: Ted Townsend, Senior Manager, Corporate
Communications, Phone: (604) 276-4399, Cell: (604) 516-9585, Email:
ttownsend@richmond.ca

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