March 13, 2013

Ridgeway elementary sold, Plymouth elementary leased

The fates of two former North Vancouver schools are sealed as the Board of Education has voted to sell one and lease the other.

Ridgeway Annex in the City and Plymouth elementary in the District of North Vancouver are among the 11 shuttered schools the board last year deemed surplus to its needs and opted to explore sale and lease agreements on. All the schools were built before 1968 and the properties were last year valued at about $137 million

After a series of public meetings were held, the school board has now reached decisions on the first two surplus sites to be repurposed.

The Ridgeway Annex site, last year valued at approximately $5.5 million but likely to fetch far more when rezoned from a school site to residential, will be sold to real-estate developer Anthem Properties who are likely to build low- to medium-density housing.

At a November public meeting inside the school building, Anthem was one of two developers pitching the school board to buy the property. The Vancouver firm’s pitch involved a variety of housing styles for the 450 East Fifth St. site, including a mix of townhouses and single-family homes that would bring between 16 and 60 new market units to the largely suburban neighbourhood.

But Anthem president Eric Carlson also told the board and community members that the company’s preferred plan would be to build just eight single-family homes along with eight laneway homes around a pocket park.

The school district is now in closed-door talks with Anthem and the details of exacty what kind of development the company will bring to the neighbourhood won’t be revealed until a rezoning application comes before North Vancouver city council, likely in the coming months.

As for Plymouth elementary, no rezoning of the 919 Tollcross Rd. is required as the school board announced it will lease the land and building to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation for further educational purposes.

The North Vancouver first nation beat out three other proponents for the property and say they will turn it into the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Skills Centre.

The new centre is likely to mean upgrades to the existing building and property at the nation’s expense, and could involve job-training and apprenticeship partnerships with Capilano University, Seaspan and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Under a long-term lease agreement — the details of which are now under negotiation — the centre will provide career and education support for aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents. And because it’s a lease rather than a sale like Ridgeway, the $10-million former Plymouth site will retain its value as an asset of the community and of the North Vancouver School District.

Read more

By Todd Coyne – North Shore Outlook
Published: March 13, 2013 9:00 AM
Updated: March 13, 2013 9:36 AM