Company proposes re-imagined plans for former Christmas tree lot


A Dartmouth-based real estate development firm is proposing a re-imagined and sizeable series of residential construction projects in Bridgewater aimed at the former Kirk's Forest Products land off Glen Allan Drive.

But the company, Somerled Properties, hopes the town will help it solve some road right-of-way, cost recovery, and environmental challenges before it files a development agreement application that could lead to construction starting by August.

The six-hectare property across the road from the town-owned soccer pitch and ball diamonds was a long-time home to Christmas tree operations, owned by Washington State-based Kirk Forest Products. Kirk announced the end of the business in 2007, but the land continued to be a hub for such activity for several more years. Online records indicate the site, which sold in 2018 for $330,000, has an assessed market value of $316,900.

MADE for Mahone Bay, a registered Chester-based company linked to developer Bob Youden, owns the site. In June 2017, Youden's firm proposed to town council a 44-unit residential development, with intentions to subdivide the property to establish a mixture of housing types and densities. Alluding to market conditions, two years later Youden told LighthouseNOW the project was on hold.

Fast-forwarding to mid-December, Somerled Properties is handling the site's future development, and floated two concepts to civic politicians, both of which would be the largest high-density residential construction in the neighbourhood since the 96-unit Drumlin Hills apartment complex was built in the early 2010s.

Somerled Properties proposes a 46-unit, 78-unit, and four 62-unit apartment buildings, along with some townhouses and duplexes. The second, alternative plan is to establish 104-unit and 96-unit apartment buildings, along with similar construction as the other proposal.

While, if approved, about 80 total residential units could be ready in 2022, in written correspondence to the town Somerled said the full development would finish in up to five years' time.

Neither concept is finalized, but both have elements of affordable housing.

"This mixed-income approach will not only appeal to more people within the community, but it will also drive the success of this development," Elizabeth Barry, of Somerled Properties, told a town council meeting during a presentation in December.

Town council is expected to re-visit Somerled's presentation in January, Mayor David Mitchell said, "for more discussion and see where it leads."

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