Point Edward officials do ‘happy dance’ over smelter land sale

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The sale of the former Holmes Foundry site in Point Edward closed on Thursday and the buyer is a Hamilton-based developer with ties to the Sarnia area.

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South Coast Developments Limited has purchased the 6.5 hectares of land adjacent to Highway 402, approaching the Blue Water Bridge, from Point Edward Gateway Inc., for $5.75 million.

“We’re all doing the happy dance,” Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand said. “And we deserve it. It has been a long and frustrating journey. »

The sale of the former industrial site with its turbulent history follows a year of work by the parties, including the village.

Chrysler closed the old foundry in the 1980s and the property was sold, but it has stood vacant ever since. A lengthy legal battle over ownership of the property was not settled until late 2017 and the land was put back on the market.

The village said in a press release that an agreement with the buyer and seller provides for the completion of a phase two environmental assessment and site condition report, as well as remediation work. environment to allow for future development on the land.

Under the agreement, the vendor will pay for environmental works that are organized by the village, said Jim Burns, Point Edward’s administrative manager.

Recently, the village oversaw the demolition of the remaining buildings on the site and the clearing of trees and other vegetation.

The demolition of the remaining buildings on the site of the former Holmes foundry in Point Edward is shown in this file photo. Photo by photo archive /The Observer

“The new buyer, they have a lot of great ideas,” Hand said. “They have high hopes for the property because it’s unique – the size and proximity to the river and highway.”

Tyler Pearson, chairman of South Coast Developments Limited, grew up in St. Clair Township and began considering buying the former smelter site after driving it on a weekend home visit from Easter in 2021.

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“I immediately parked my car on the side of the road and just looked at it and said, ‘Somebody has to finally do something with this site because it’s crazy that 16 acres of land to be developed have gone unused for so long,” Pearson said.

“We are very excited about the possibilities that obviously come with this site.”

Pearson said it has conducted housing, seniors and hospitality studies in the field “and all of the results of those studies have been overwhelmingly favorable.”

The former Holmes Foundry lot off Highway 402 in Point Edward has been sold.
The former Holmes Foundry lot off Highway 402 in Point Edward has been sold. Photo by Paul Morden /The Observer

He said it was “early days” in the company’s plans but “certainly we see a significant residential element being one of the many pieces of the puzzle” for the site.

“There’s no doubt in our eyes that this is truly one of the best major development sites left, not just in Point Edward, but I’d go so far as to say in the southwest of the country. ‘Ontario,’ Pearson said.

He added that the village leaders were “great to work with, from the start”.

The site is “steps away” from Lake Huron and the St. Clair River, and “just offers a tremendous opportunity,” he said.

Pearson said the company is “extremely optimistic that all environmental issues can be resolved and that we will prepare the site for residential development.”

He said the impact of the pandemic may have “only helped the site” due to the recent trend of residents of larger centers moving to smaller communities.

“A lot of people started realizing the quality of life and affordability that a place like Point Edward and Sarnia-Lambton could offer.

Pearson said there “still remains a lot of work to do, but we remain incredibly optimistic and will continue to move forward.”

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