By JAMES MILLER
A suitable buyer for the controversial Eckhardt Ave. W. properties was not found, Penticton City Council announced, Monday.
Council reviewed three proposals from potential buyers of the land originally intended as a $15 million, seven-storey dormitory to service the Okanagan Hockey School and some students from Okanagan College. Following an in-camera discussion, it was revealed that none of the applicants were suitable based on price, development of lots, how the proponent would handle the issue of multiple liens on the property and the experience of each proponent.
Mayor Dan Ashton refused to be specific as to why all three proposals were turned down.
"We compiled an evaluation of the process and none of the applicants that came forward were satisfactory for the land which the city will still own," he said.
The city was accepting request for proposals from April 3 through May 8 and although the RFP period is now closed, Ashton would entertain other avenues should one come available. Advertising was purchased in major centres including Calgary and Vancouver and was posted on the City's website.
Ashton said the City will pay for the clean-up of the site which has sat vacant since work was terminated in February.
"Hopefully very quickly that property will be cleaned up to make it more applicable to the site," he said.
Director of Development Services Anthony Haddad said the cost of the clean-up is unknown at this time.
The project was marred with controversy from the get-go.
Contractors began site preparation work on the development even before the original developers had finalized financing the project.
The city had planned on selling nine lots beside the South Okanagan Events Centre to the original developers for $925,000 but when payment wasn't received, the work was halted. Several local contractors were not paid for their services resulting in numerous liens on the property which total more than $1 million. It was later discovered that one of the developers had a trail of debt in Penticton which included owing a senior citizen money for rent.