Time is running out for potential buyers of a 25-acre parcel of county land in Simcoe to place their bids.
Following an in-camera session on April 28, Norfolk council served notice that the deadline for accepting offers on the Ireland Road property is May 14. After that, council will decide how it wants to dispose of the land, which was purchased in late 2019 as the potential site of a $50-million recreation complex.
At a recent council meeting, Mayor Kristal Chopp said the county has received offers for the parcel in excess of the municipality’s initial outlay of $3.2 million.
When asked if those offers are still on the table and whether the county is in a position to show a profit from the transaction, Chopp said: “We have interest in the property – absolutely. There will be a better story in a couple weeks.”
The unserviced agricultural land was part of the Zitia subdivision south of Oakwood Cemetery when the county purchased it for recreational uses.
The purchase agreement required the Paris-based developers to buy back the land at the same price if Norfolk was unsuccessful in securing provincial and federal funding for the recreation project. That funding was denied and Norfolk sought to redeem its money.
For their part, the developers say the purchase agreement gives them until the end of June to repatriate the land. After giving the vendors 90 days last year to act, Norfolk council agreed to test interest in the parcel on the open market.
Norfolk retained the commercial real estate firm of Cushman and Wakefield, of Mississauga, to market the property. According to the website realtor.ca, the asking price has risen to $4.95 million.
During this year’s 2021 budget deliberation in January, council heard that the $3.2 million spent on the hub land is not new money that Norfolk will have to allocate once it is retrieved. Rather, this was money drawn from county cash flow that has been allocated but not spent in previous budgets.
Earlier this year, Chopp explained it is a different story with the profit arising if Norfolk sells the land for more than it paid. Council, she said, would have to decide what to do with the profit once that is in hand.