An “extraordinarily rare” piece of undeveloped land in north Nanaimo is on the market.The Green Thumb Garden Centre and Nurseries and its 18 hectares of mostly undeveloped land has been listed for an undetermined amount according to Brad Bailey, associate vice-president with Colliers International Nanaimo, the group overseeing the sale.
“It is prime,” Bailey said. “It’s one of the last unique development sites left in the Nanaimo, especially in a core area like North Nanaimo.”The property, which borders Island Highway, Uplands Drive and Hammond Bay Road, is currently zoned as urban reserve. Bailey said the City of Nanaimo is supportive of any kind of development that includes a mixture of residential and commercial, adding that the future buyer will need to have a good development plan and be well financed.
“The buyer of this is going to be a significant developer. They are going to have to have deep pockets,” he said. “But we are flexible, this could be a joint venture. We’re open to all ideas.”
Green Thumb Garden Centre and Nurseries, one of the largest nurseries on Vancouver Island, has been operating for more than five decades on the property.
Bailey said the centre won’t be going anywhere in the immediate future as development won’t likely occur until well after the property is sold.
“[Green Thumb owners] are going to keep operating and it could take a number of different forms,” he said. “Whether that means overtimes they shrink their footprint on the property or whether they keep operating for another three, four, five years remains to be seen. There certainly no intention from the operators of the nursery to be gone next week.”
Once sold, the property will almost certainly see combination of commercial and residential redevelopment according to Bailey, who said any development will fit in with the city’s official community plan. “I don’t think anything that gets developed there is going to alarm anybody too much,” he said.
Bailey said the property has no price tag at the moment because it’s such a large development opportunity and there are a variety of factors at play.
“Certain groups will have different development visions and ideas for the site and depending what they pro forma, they are going to make calculations based on the cost of development achievable,” he said. “They are going to have to determine what they think is a fair price for the property.”
Bailey said Colliers has informed a number of major developers and investors nationally and internationally about the property. He said there has been interest in the site for a number of reasons and that the sale and eventual development will take years.“For Nanaimo, it is a significant development,” he said. “This isn’t an overnight thing. I believe that this is either going to be phased or someone is going to have to take components of the property down a phase at a time.”