By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 13, 2013
A Vancouver developer plans to revive a much-delayed waterfront project, and revitalize downtown in the process.
John Doyle plans to bring MirEAU, a 61-condo unit project, back to life on the Squamish waterfront.
Doyle purchased a portion of the former Westmana land in a court-ordered sale, after six years of aborted attempts by Westmana to put shovels in the ground.
The jinx broken, Doyle eagerly awaits for the building permits.
Nothing has been changed from the old plans: There will be 61 one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom condos.
A boarded-up presentation centre at the intersection of Loggers Lane and Winnipeg Street now greets visitors.
In a year or so, the views will be dramatically altered.
Despite the seemingly large number of condos for sale in Squamish, Doyle believes MirEAU to be a ‘unique’ project because of waterfront access and proximity to downtown amenities.
“It’s on the waterfront, and that is what makes it really special,” Doyle says.
The market for these condos, he believes, won’t just be Vancouverites escaping the city.
“It’s local people who have retired and want to downsize,” he says.
The MirEAU project has been delayed ever since Westmana bought land along the Mamquam Blind Channel from International Forest Products in 2006.
In 2010, the mortgage holder on the land filed a petition for foreclosure on the Westmana property.
As the land went up for a court-ordered sale, the fate of the MirEAU project became more uncertain.
Doyle, also a realtor, had been pitching the project to other investors when he grew interested in it himself.
When a new investor to Canada first expressed interest and then backed off, Doyle offered to buy the MirEAU portion of the land.
It had been always his ambition to do residential and commercial buildings in the region, and MirEAU seemed like the perfect opportunity.
“This was a project just ready to go,” he says.
As part of the development permit agreement, the district gets a road allowance.
As a result, Winnipeg Street will be paved to the end, providing public access to the waterfront.
Doyle will also build a waterfront walkway and, approximately, 250 feet of the dike.
He hopes the district, B.C. Rail, and other stakeholders will pick up the thread and take the walkway all the way to the Oceanfront.
Councillor Ted Prior is excited about MirEAU’s revival.
A passionate proponent of a waterfront walkway and a dike, Prior says Doyle’s plans would go a long way in revitalizing downtown.
“This is one of the key projects in downtown, and I’m expecting it to be very successful,” he says.
“It’s the kind of waterfront development that downtown Squamish needs,” he says.
“A waterfront link is crucial, and it makes it that much more appealing to live downtown,” he adds.