Lorne Hotel site up for sale

In July the Town of Comox knew that "it was likely not going to proceed."

The sight of the former Lorne Hotel on Comox Avenue is now up for sale

The site of the former Lorne Hotel is up for sale.

Comox Mayor Paul Ives said the redevelopment project’s eligibility for tax concessions through the town’s Downtown Vitalization Program expired in early July, and at that point the Town knew that “it was likely not going to proceed.”

“The project was being actively marketed at that time. There was a discussion that went back and forth between a new developer but that did eventually fall apart. The current owners – George Kacavenda and his wife – have put the whole project on the market.”

In February 2011, a fire razed the 133-year-old pub to the ground, and nearly two years later, council received an application to rebuild and redesign the historic landmark.

The proposal was for a contentious five-storey, mixed-use building, with a pub, liquor store and bistro on the ground floor, and 21 residential units on the remaining four floors.

In spring 2015, residents packed public information sessions and a public hearing on the development. Those who spoke out against the project noted they encourage development, but took issues with the structure’s height, and a lack of marine/heritage feel.

Developer Shawn Vincent of Simba Investment Ltd. said last May shortly after the project was approved by council it was going to be the centrepiece the community was hoping for.

“We’ve heard the concerns of the local people, but we’re … building a building not just for today, this is a building that is going to be there for 45, 50 years,” he added at the time.

Ives said he is hopeful a revised project might come forward, as the development permit is still valid for another year. He added the town might see a “scaled-back” version of the proposal, with a developer taking into consideration the input from the public, in particular the building’s form and character.

“At the end of the day, it’s what the market will bear.”

He added while the estimated $4-$5 million project isn’t something the town wanted to see taken off the table, he is optimistic about other projects within the town, such as redevelopment of the Comox Centre Mall, and an addition to Berwick Comox Valley.

While some of the units were available for pre-sale, Ives doesn’t believe any deposits were placed on them.

Calls to the developer were not returned.

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