Housing likely for Ridgeway Annex

North Vancouver school board prefers Anthem Properties proposals

NEIGHBOURS of the retired Ridgeway Annex school could soon be getting an idea of exactly what developer Anthem Properties has in mind for the site since being named the preferred candidate to buy it from the North Vancouver school board.

The developer beat out other bids from Darwin Properties, Atti Group and Kidsland Childcare Centre to take over the property on East Fifth Street at Ridgeway Avenue last month.

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In their presentation to the school board last fall, Anthem representatives pitched four potential development options that would have between 24 and 60 units of housing depending how densely they are arranged.

The actual development proposal won't be decided on until the company has done more consultation with the public, according to Alexa Baughen, Anthem's vice-president of communications.

"Speaking with our development team, the clear message I got was that we're going to start the process soon and the next steps would be to engage both the city and the community and get everybody's wish list and try to accommodate everyone's requirements. That's what we'd typically do in any of our developments," Baughen, said.

The developer will also have to go through the typical rezoning and development permit process with the City of North Vancouver before construction can begin.

"We have to do a lot more homework before we get to there, that's for sure," Baughen added.

The details of what made Anthem's bid stand out from the others are not public yet, but the board is keeping in mind the community's priorities as well as school district's, said school board chairwoman Franci Stratton.

"We were just more comfortable with the Anthem proposal the way it came to the board. It just seemed to meet more of goals that the board was looking at in terms of the criteria that we had to work with," Stratton said.

"We felt this realized the maximum social and financial benefit for that site."

Stratton did not say how much cash it was expecting from the property other than it would be "fair market value."

Ridgeway was assessed at $5,864,000 for 2013.

Revenue from the sale or lease of school district lands will go into "programs and services and much needed facility upgrades that we do not receive government funding for," Stratton said.

The board is also in negotiations to offload Plymouth elementary to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to be repurposed into a skills training centre for Keith Lynn elementary to be part of another location for North Shore Studios.

brichter@nsnews.com

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