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City sells key Downtown property

First Capital Realty, which owns Shops at New West Station, has purchased the adjacent property at 801 Columbia St. from the City of New Westminster. - Google Earth image
First Capital Realty, which owns Shops at New West Station, has purchased the adjacent property at 801 Columbia St. from the City of New Westminster.
— image credit: Google Earth image

New Westminster is selling a Downtown property it bought five years ago at a small profit.

The city’s sale of 801 Columbia St., to the owners of the Shops at New West Station mall next door is expected to be completed this week, said Mike Lowe, B.C. region managing director for First Capital Realty.

The city recently gave notice it was selling the property at the foot of the New Westminster SkyTrain station for $1,950,000 after paying $1,885,000 for it in 2008.

The city has been using the property as a construction staging site for the Anvil Centre and Merchant Square office complex across Eighth. It will remain in the city’s possession until June 30, 2014.

“We haven’t got anything drawn up yet, but obviously we’re going to try and maximize density there and try to marry it up against our other project and all the other projects that are in the area. We have not finalized any plans on that,” said Lowe.

He added the company is willing to work with the city on figuring out what to do with the property.

“We want their input too because it’s a prominent corner and there’s a lot going on there and across the street,” said Lowe.

“We just want to make the right decision.”

First Capital Realty purchased the Shops at New West Station from the Degelder Group, developers of the Plaza 88 project, for $100 million in May 2012, and expect to pay up to $20 million in May 2014 for the property’s parking garage, signage and storage revenue, said Lowe.

“We are still improving the property with some capital improvements, we haven’t finished that yet. We want to make it more user friendly. Right now we feel there’s just too much concrete,” said Lowe when asked how the first 18 months of the mall had gone.

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