Three bidders come forward on proposed dorm site

The City of Penticton’s search to find a new developer to purchase a group of nine city-owned lots on Eckhardt Avenue is over.

Contractors like Wade Wagstaff of Grizzly Excavating Ltd.

Contractors like Wade Wagstaff of Grizzly Excavating Ltd.

The City of Penticton’s search to find a new developer to purchase a group of nine city-owned lots on Eckhardt Avenue is over, but it will be some time before a winning bid is selected.

“We are in the process of going through them now,” said Anthony Haddad, who confirmed that three bids were received during the month-long request for proposal process, which closed on May 8.

“It is an extensive review process,” Haddad said. Three bids is a reasonable return, he said, as the city didn’t go into the process with any set idea how much interest the RFP would generate.

“We left it open,” he said. “We are hoping that we find a successful candidate amongst these as we review them.”

The city put out the request for proposals on the properties in early April, after a previous deal with developer Loren Reagan collapsed. That deal, with a sale price of $925,000, was made in November, but never closed. However, Reagan was allowed to begin work on the property before the city received payment in order to facilitate his project, a dormitory for the Okanagan Hockey Academy. That deal came to a crashing end in March when Reagan’s backers pulled out and news broke about allegations of previous fraudulent business practices on Reagan’s part.

That left Penticton with the land and some very unhappy contractors who had not been paid for their work, who then placed liens on the property totalling more than $1.5 million.

How the bidder plans to deal with those liens is one of the main criteria that will be used to evaluate the three bids, along with the proposed purchase price, the suitability of the development proposed and the experience and ability of the developer.

“We don’t want to make a quick decision for the sake of making a decision,” said Haddad. He expects it will be sometime in June, at least, before staff are able to bring a recommendation to city council.

Other than the number of bids, Haddad isn’t giving away any details, citing the confidentially of the RFP process as he refused to make a general comment on whether the three bids proposed similar uses for the property or varying concepts.

“They are all confidential. I can’t go into details,” he said. “It is very important that we are careful at this point about the confidentiallity.”