An agricultural property in Summerland that spent two years at the centre of a controversial development plan is going to auction in August.
Harcourts Real Estate will accept bids starting at $2 million for 13610 Banks Cres., which comprises four lots over 14 acres. The auction will be conducted online and is open to anyone, anywhere.
Most of the site is covered in vineyards that would have been torn out to make way for the ill-fated $125-million project that called for 230 condominium units of market housing for seniors, 100 units of independent living and 50 units of assisted living.
Advanced by Surrey-based Lark Group, the project was ultimately turned down by Summerland council in February 2018 after a 22-month regulatory process that divided the community.
All of that is ancient history now for Theo Birkner, listing realtor for the property, which, although zoned for agriculture, is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“We are pitching it as a property that’s for sale to the best buyer. That’s the long and short of it there,” said Birkner in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s an opportunity for someone who wants to step in and own a beautiful piece of land in a fantastic part of the world.”
Birkner said he’s already received interest from developers – some of whom are aware of the property’s recent history – as well as people interested in resurrecting the vineyards or making the site a hobby farm. The property also has subdivision potential that could help fund construction of the new owner’s dream home.
Harcourts, which is based in Australia and has approximately 50 offices in North America, offers both traditional sales and auctions depending on sellers’ preferences, added Birkner.
In the case of 13610 Banks Cres., the sellers chose the auction route because “they’re ready to meet the market and excited to see what our process can bring and see the best prices and terms on their timeline,” continued Birkner, who noted it’s “not a financially distressed sale in any way, shape or form.”
The auction is scheduled to begin at noon on Thursday, Aug. 12. Pre-registration is required by visiting the Harcourts Auctions website. All commissions and fees will be paid by the sellers.
After council turned down the initial development proposal, Lark Group submitted new plans for a 38-home subdivision, but elected officials took a dim view of that idea, too, and it went nowhere.
Density of the proposed developments, possible impacts on the Shaughnessy Springs aquifer, which supplies water to the downstream fish hatchery, and loss of agricultural-zoned land were among the chief concerns expressed by council at the time.
This article has been corrected. An earlier version incorrectly stated Harcourts has 50 offices around the world, when the number is actually in the range of 900.