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Future of 1,000-home Britannia Beach project up in the air

487-acre site in south Britannia Beach, which is the subject of a massive development application, has been listed for $150 million
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A view of the Britannia Beach area. Taicheng's lands fall south of the mining museum, which is pictured top- left. North is to the right.

The Taicheng lands in south Britannia Beach have been listed for sale, which could mean the future of the proposed 1,000-unit housing development is now up in the air.

A representative with Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty confirmed to The Chief that Taicheng Development Corporation — recently renamed as the Tigerbay Development Corp. — is seeking to sell its land in the area for $150 million.

“It’s a spectacular piece of real estate that’s a rare find anywhere in the Metro Vancouver area,” said Paul Prade of the real estate agency.

The 487 acres, which include the former Makin Lands, are being sold as a “potential development,” he said.

Development has yet to be approved on that property, which has been listed for sale for a few months, Prade said.

Whoever buys the land can either continue with the application process that has been submitted to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District or start again and submit their own plans, he said.

“It could go either way — it depends on how the sale is structured,” Prade said.

The head of Taicheng, Long Cheng, also confirmed to The Squamish Chief that the property has been listed.

“I can assure you that it [is] on the market,” said Cheng.

He declined to comment any further, but said more information may be available at the end of this year.

According to media reports at the time of Taicheng’s land purchase in 2012, the Chinese development company picked up the Britannia Beach property for about $30.5 million in a court-ordered cash sale.

The site of the project includes a gravel pit south of the mining museum, the former Makin lands and some of the land leading to the top of Furry Creek.

The company intended to put in a 4,000-home development on its land, according to 2012 media reports, however, in more recent years, the scale of the project has been pared down to about 1,000 units.

Some have lauded the project as a boon for housing in the Squamish-Britannia area, while others have raised concerns regarding increased traffic.

Taicheng has approached the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District a number of times in hopes of gaining the approvals needed to go forward with development. However, the SLRD’s endorsement has remained elusive.

Last year, the SLRD suggested adding affordable housing and a pedestrian overpass at the CN Rail tracks, among other things.

Director Tony Rainbow, who represents the Britannia area in the SLRD, previously told The Chief that a standing concern about the project was the lack of workspace in the development.

Rainbow said in April the board wasn’t interested in creating a commuter community.

“We want to see more than just homes,” he said at the time.

As of late, an independent artisan market has been proposed on the land, and the head of that proposal says that the application process will continue uninterrupted.

“It has no effect whatsoever,” wrote John Jervis of Elevate BC in an email. “Many properties are listed to test the open real estate market, while the development activities carry forward as planned.”

The market is not part of the Taicheng housing development, but it will be set up on some of the company’s land.

Rainbow has previously remarked that it could indirectly address the SLRD board’s request for having workspace in the area.

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