Southlands mega-project gets going
St. John’s businessman Danny Williams was on the site of his proposed multibillion-dollar land development Tuesday to announce the project is now in the phase of selling lots. — Photos by Bonnie Belec/The Telegram
It won’t include his name, but a multi-billion dollar project will include his expertise as a St. John’s businessman.
Danny Williams laughed Tuesday at some of the names that have been bandied about for his Glencrest project in Southlands as he gathered at the site which borders the Trans-Canada Highway as well as Mount Pearl and St. John’s.
“Right now Glencrest has been the name associated with the industrial centre, but that will not be the name for the entire property,” he told reporters standing on the site of the old Fort Motel off the TCH.
The former premier said the Glendenning Golf course, which is also on the property, will retain its name, but he hopes to come up with something a little more visionary for the rest of the project.
As for the possible names tossed around to rename the 2,000-acre development — Udanistan, Dannyland and Afdhanistan — Williams said he likes them all.
“I think they’re all wonderful. All great names. I had a great laugh over a lot of them. The Afdhanistan I hadn’t even heard before,” he said.
“But no, it’s not going to be any Danny in the name at all. It’ll be a name that will have some personal meaning to me and hopefully to the family. We named Mile One over 10 years ago and there was no Danny in that so this won’t be any different.”
In March, St. John’s city council voted unanimously to allow the Glencrest project in Southlands to get started without having a formal plan in place.
First, Williams had to apply to the city to rezone four sections of his property, which the city has agreed to do.
The four sections which have been rezoned — industrial (87.32 acres), commercial (97.09 acres), residential apartment (20.84 acres) residential single houses (30.99 acres) — are on the edge of Southlands, and three of the four border the city of Mount Pearl.
“Location. Location. Location. This is an ideal location. So we’d figure we’d let people know the land is available. We already have some pre-sales done,” he said.
“No doubt,” Williams said when asked if he thought the land will sell.
“We might not sell all 87 acres overnight, but given where it is located I would think this will be a primary choice for people buying industrial land,” he said, suggesting access to the TCH, and its proximity to the airport and downtown ports as a top selling point.
Williams expects Glencrest to attract businesses of all sizes, large multinationals as well as local businesses, and will cover a range of industrial sectors, particularly companies servicing the oil and gas and mining industries along with distributors and local enterprises. Work on the site has begun and lots range in size and, one would expect, in price. However, as for the cost of each lot, Williams said that is something to be determined between the developer and purchaser.
“There’s so much going on in the province. APEC (Atlantic Provinces Economic Council) have said we’re doing $54 billion in projects which represents half of all of Atlantic Canada — Vale Inc. is winding down, but Hebron is gearing up. Lower Churchill is gearing up there’s a lot of exploration going on right now offshore, so I think the future is very bright for Newfoundland and Labrador, and I’m bullish on the economy here,” he said.
“So as long as that happens and continues to happen you’ll see a lot of new industrial companies coming in here and setting up shop, and of course a lot of them are looking for wide-open space and laydown yards,” Williams said.
In May there were some concerns expressed to the city of
St. John’s regarding the development’s proximity to quarries on the TCH and the fact the survey of the land wasn’t included in the file, but Williams said as far as he’s concerned, it has all been rectified and the company is in the process of finalizing the layout for the main connector roads going through the project.
“So there’s no reason to think there are any glitches. Everything is moving forward. When we did our original application with council, some of our adjacent neighbours mentioned some issues, but we’ve spoken with them directly and they seem to be fine so everything is good,” he said.