The Town of Bancroft acquired the former IGA property – known as block 68 – in 2010, and are now moving forward with the sale of it to Gardens Acquisition Corp after signing a letter of intent with them.
“Over the last number of years, we’ve evaluated many proposals for that property,” Mayor Paul Jenkins said about the potential purchase. “None had come forward which would serve the town in a good long term way.”
Gardens is a group of companies that develop and operate retirement living communities in the Province.
Jenkins explains through “many” discussions with the group they have learned that “extremely expensive” prep work is needed before the final purchase can be made and work can begin on the 120-suite retirement complex. “It allows the developer with confidence to spend some money right now knowing that they still have the right to purchase the property assuming what they find makes it feasible for them to purchase the project,” Jenkins explained. Barring any delays, this prep work will help determine what the purchase price will be.
The letter of intent that’s been signed requires the Town and Gardens to enter into an agreement of purchase and sale by the end of June 2020.
Also included in the sale of the property will be the portion of open space south of the Cenotaph. “Preliminary discussions have taken place with the Legion to find a more prominent home for the Cenotaph with ample gathering space,” the Town says. “The town will retain ownership of the waterfront corridor for public use.”
“Gardens market niche is small-town Ontario,” explained President Bill Maradimae. He said they have a 107-suite resident open in Parry Sound, and similar projects underway in Haliburton and Ingersoll. “We build independent supportive living communities that appeal to active seniors,” he added. “We know that the town is anxious for development to occur and we are looking forward to making this happen. When completed out development will benefit from the village setting this property provides and we are confident that our residents will bring additional life to the streets of Bancroft.”
Jenkins said that preliminary engineering and environmental reports have been done on the lot in the past, but more work is required to determine what is needed to begin building and if that is possible. Jenkins said he believes it’s “highly doubtful” that they will find something that tells them that can’t build there but says the possibility is “always there.”