Chances the former Jackpine Forest Products site in Williams Lake could become a federally-regulated cannabis facility may have gone up in smoke after the owner upped the price, City Coun. Scott Nelson said Tuesday.
“An offer was made today in excess of $5 million for the site,” Nelson told council during its regular meeting. “That offer is still standing, but the Jackpine owner doubled the price today to $9.9 million.”
Nelson said the “unfortunate” thing is that Williams Lake has carried outstanding taxes on the Jackpine property for several years, up until a payment was finally made last June.
Mayor Walt Cobb echoed Nelson’s disappointment saying he thought the property owner had made a “huge mistake.”
“Two years ago when we were at UBCM we met with the owners of the day and the price of the building was under $3 million,” he recalled. “We put in an offer at that time because we had some people interested in it and we had 60 days, but that deal never came together.”
Cobb said the City asked for an extension, but the owners refused, and immediately upped to price to more than $4 million, and shortly after that the price went to $6 million.
“This is not the Lower Mainland, where you can double the price every two weeks,” Cobb insisted. “This could be the last opportunity for quite some time. This is 178 acres that we have sitting there. They’ve come close to being up for tax sale and been in arrears and now they’ve turned down an offer.”
Coun. Ivan Bonnell, joining the council meeting by phone, said “that is the free enterprise system.”
Replying he understood Bonnell’s comment, Cobb said he still wanted to reiterate his disappointment.
Nelson told the Tribune Wednesday he intends to continue updating the community about potential investments in an effort to keep council’s transactions “open and transparent.”
“Fortunately, there are several local guys in town in the industrial area that have opened up their lands for potential cannabis investment as well,” Nelson noted, adding while he thought Jackpine was the top site, city council will continue to market other key locations.
Another offer has been made on a different piece of property, and four key groups are looking inside the city limits, as well as at the airport, he confirmed.
“We’re looking at all our options,” Cobb said.
BC Assessment lists two property values as of July 1, 2017 for the 4400 Mackenzie Avenue North site. One value is for $2,075,000 and an additional property value is for $346,000.
We are hoping to contact the property owner for comments.