UPDATED: Nelson Landing back on council table
A long dormant housing development is expected back before city council next week.
City manager Kevin Cormack told a public meeting on the budget this week that the new owner of Nelson Landing is scheduled to present his "refined vision" to council Monday.
David Sorenson first proposed a mixed commercial and residential development in 2008, to be built on the old Kootenay Forest Products site on the east waterfront. It originally called for more than 200 units, but was later scaled back to about 170.
Nelson Landing went through several rounds of public consultation and appeased its most vocal critics when Sorsenson agreed to donate Red Sands Beach to the city. Construction was supposed to begin last year, but little has been heard of the project since.
At one point, Sorenson said his company was the victim of Dexior Financial Inc., which lost more than $20 million of its investors' money, but insisted "It has nothing to do with Nelson Landing at all."
Allard Ockeloen, who had been Sorenson's chief financial officer, told the Star today his company acquired the development a few months ago.
"Council is waiting and wondering what's going on," he said. "We'll be updating them on the change of ownership and inform them about our plans for the rezoning application and some of the visionary elements of how we see this program moving forward."
Ockeloen wanted to wait until his presentation Monday to reveal the details, but confirmed he hopes to break ground this year. He said market forces have prevented the project from getting started sooner.
"When Sorenson acquired the property, the market was strong but a couple of years later it was not, and that contributed to the factors he faced with all of his land assets," Ockeloen said.
Nelson Landing was then put up for sale. Ockeloen said he worked with Sorenson for eight years, beginning as a project director and for the last year in a financial role.
Although things have been quiet publicly, he said things have been going on in the background: "We've been working with [city] staff over the last few months. It's not like it's been sitting in a vacuum — things have been moving forward," he said. "We hope our plans are well received."