ESTEVAN, Saskatchewan — According to www.estevanmercury.ca, Rock-N-Wash purchased a lot on Nesbitt Dr. in 2013 with the intention of building a multi-bay, eco-friendly carwash.
However, the property was never developed, and the owners, Darryl Mack and Sylvain Blouin, came to the city council for assistance.
In a letter to the council, Blouin wrote that the lots adjacent to their property in the Glen Peterson Industrial Park are currently selling for $1 CAD, while they paid $590,105 CAD (plus goods and services taxes (GST)) for their lot.
“The lenders/underwriters are no longer considering our $590,105 plus GST as equity into the project, as they know the asset is not worth that kind of value on the market, with similar lots selling for $1 adjacent to our property,” said Blouin.
Their lot has been given a taxable value of $843,7000 CAD since 2017, resulting in annual taxes in excess of $17,200 CAD, which Blouin said is unjustifiable considering the economic downturn, a wide 10-meter easement in the middle of the property and the available lots for $1 CAD.
The easement reduces the value of the property and increases the construction cost.
Blouin asked for a tax abatement on the property retroactive to 2018, since the $843,700 CAD valuation was “unrealistic,” given the circumstances.
In addition, since they did not start construction within the 180 days outline in an enclosed purchase agreement, they requested a return of the balance of the purchase price.
“We would purchase the lot back from the city for $1 and leverage the remaining capital as equity towards construction,” Blouin wrote.
Blouin admitted they could have asked for a refund in 2014 or 2015, but instead the owners tried to find investors for the project.
Furthermore, Blouin is not angry at the city selling the lots for $1 CAD; rather, he applauds it for thinking creatively to bring business to the city.
“We are dealing with a very abnormal situation here. The fact that we bought from the city — the city back then was not selling the lots for a dollar, obviously. We’re not dealing with the same economic fundamentals back then that we are now,” said Blouin.
Blouin told the council they have had to scale back their original plans for the wash, which called for a $7 million CAD facility with an automatic truck wash and 16 bays; now, they are looking to have a $2 million CAD project with 10 bays and one truck bay — possibly adding a second if the economy improves.
Blouin noted that they still wanted to pursue the project, which would be eco-friendly with water recycling and net-zero electrical consumption, but at this point, they only had two options: go bankrupt or work with the city council to find a solution.
The council tabled the request and will have the Rock-N-Wash representatives work with the economic development division and committee to come to an agreeable solution.
Read the original article here.