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Lorne Hotel site in Comox sold

December 8, 2016

The site of a proposed five-storey condominium and commercial development in Comox has now been sold.

The half-acre parcel – formerly the site of the historic Lorne Hotel – located at the intersection of Comox Avenue and Port Augusta Street changed hands for $1,075,000 in mid-October.

The listing price had been $1.2 million, even though the 2015 assessed value was $511,000.

Brad Bailey, an agent with Colliers International in Nanaimo, handled the sale.

He said an individual Asian investor from the Lower Mainland bought the property.

Bailey said property prices are changing so rapidly that assessed values aren’t always accurate.

He said a lot of money had been spent getting the Comox property to the development permit stage so there was “definitely value in that.”

Bailey said he’s not privy to the plans the new owner has for the property, but said the buyer “seemed fairly sophisticated.”

The high pricing for buildings and properties in Vancouver is driving more investors, especially Asian ones, to the Island, he said.

It is unclear what the sale of the property means for progress on the originally planned 21-unit condo building, which would also include a restaurant and a liquor store on the ground floor.

Comox council issued a development permit for the project in July of 2015, following a public hearing in May. Approximately 100 residents showed up, many of whom expressed concerns about the proposed height of the building and densification in the downtown.

Council also approved rezoning for the property.

At the time of the public hearing, owner George Kacavenda and project manager Shawn Vincent spoke in favour of the application.

A large billboard sign with an architect’s rendering of the condo building was formerly displayed at the site, but the sign was taken down in September and replaced by a Colliers ‘for sale’ sign.

The property has an approved development plan in place with the Town of Comox until July 27, 2017.

The property owner has until then to substantially begin construction before the permit expires.

The Lorne Hotel, considered at the time to be the oldest drinking establishment in B.C., was destroyed by fire several years ago.