Has Slessor Square been sold?

On 25 October 2013 I was told by Newmarket planning staff that:

“Bob Forrest, the proponent of the Slessor Square Development has informed staff this week that his team has conditionally sold their site. We understand the sale is conditional for 60 days.”

If the site was sold conditionally on Friday 25 October 2013 and Bob Forrest told the Town on the same day, we are now on day 59.

There could of course still be an offer and acceptance between the buyer and the seller. But the sale only goes through when it is officially registered with the Province’s Land Registry. And that hasn’t happened yet.

The Land Registry record shows that Dwight Slessor Holdings Limited owned the former car dealership site. On 6 December 2011, PACE Savings and Credit Union paid the Slessors $4,500,000. A second payment was made by PACE to the Slessors on 22 January 2013, this time for $1,800,000. There are now, in consequence, charges on the property totalling $6,300,000, a tidy little sum.

The billboard on the Slessor Square site declares that financing for the development is provided by PACE Credit Union.

If the sale does go through – or even if it doesn’t - the Slessors will be walking away, laden down with sacks of cash.

In February of this year the OMB gave the OK to Dwight Slessor Holdings to erect twin towers at 21 and 19 storeys and two other buildings at 8 storeys.

Unfortunately, Newmarket councillors capitulated at the first whiff of grapeshot and accepted the Slessors “settlement offer”, avoiding the need for a long drawn out OMB inquiry.

Our councillors gave “approval in principle” but with a huge number of key issues left unresolved. These are known as “holds” which must be lifted by the Town before the development can get started.

Last month, with no signs of anything much happening, the OMB requested an update. (Earlier, on 8 July 2013 the OMB reminded the Slessors’ lawyer, Ira Kagan, that the OMB had withheld its final order on the draft plan of subdivision until it received the conditions of draft plan approval.)

On 13 November 2013, the OMB asked Kagan

Can you please provide a status update with respect to the conditions of draft plan approval? 

On 14 November, Kagan, replied:

My client is still working with Town and Regional staff to come to agreement on the conditions of draft plan approval.  If we are unable to do so then we will request that the Board hold a hearing to deal with the conditions

And, without a hint of irony, Kagan continued:

We are hopeful that this can be avoided as we appreciate how busy the Board is these days.   Thank you.

The OMB has now told Kagan it expects a “further status update” on 24 March 2014.

This, as it happens, is in the middle of Phase 1 of the OMB’s Glenway Hearing where the ubiquitous Mr Kagan, wearing yet another hat, will be appearing on behalf of Marianneville, the hard-nosed developers who plan to rip the heart out of the Glenway community.