Vacant properties in Port Moody can sell for $1.2 million or more.
But someone recently purchased two, side-by-side lots at the end of Moody Street for just $120,000 each.
Does that sound like a good deal or what?
The Moody Centre-area properties, located at 2810 and 2820 Pembroke St. and zoned single family, are more than 8,000 sq. ft. each and, if you could build a house on them, you might get a view of Port Moody inlet.
Even though they sit directly behind and beside houses and don't have their own street or lane, they are legal lots, and were assessed at much higher values — $222,000 each, according to BC Assessment.
Properties subdivided nearly 140 years ago
In fact, according to the City of Port Moody, the properties were originally subdivided in 1884.
That was two years before the first passenger train from Montreal arrived in Port Moody on July 4, 1886, with about 150 passengers after a 139-hour, 4,655 km trip.
Likely the properties were subdivided during a pre-railway land rush, which quickly faded according to the City of Port Moody.
"Port Moody was expected to become the biggest town in the west, but William Van Horne decided the company would extend its rail line from Port Moody to a new terminus several kilometres farther west, newly named Vancouver – the railway's executives had determined Port Moody's narrow shelf of land between water and hillside to be insufficient for expansion."
When the railway was extended, Port Moody was no longer the terminus and, for 20 years, the population stayed steady at 250 people.
Fast forward to today and Port Moody is in a bit of a land rush again, thanks to SkyTrain, with new developments being proposed and built.
These two properties are a remnant of those early days, and were never developed.
However, to get the Pembroke Street properties ready for construction would take a lot of servicing work, according to the property listings on Zealty.ca.
The lots would require, but are not limited to:
- road access
- sanitary sewer
- storm sewer
The city has also expressed concern that the properties are steep, making it challenging to provide access suitable for emergency vehicles.
Professional engineer needed
In an email, Stephen Judd, Port Moody's acting manager of engineering and operations, said the owner would have to engage a professional engineer and submit a design to service the property with water, sewer, drainage as well as access that achieves the city's and emergency standards.
"The design would need to take into consideration the challenges associated with the extremely challenging grades in the area and as well as submission of reports to address environmental and hazardous lands permits," Judd stated.
"Upon city acceptance of a design, the applicant would then enter into a servicing agreement to service the property and hire a contractor to complete the construction."
He added there have been "historic" inquiries into developing these properties "which were ultimately not pursued by the applicant due to the challenges with the topography that prevents construction of a typical road with accessible grades."
However, Judd said, while the city has not received a formal application to review proposed development on these sites, it "will continue to work with applicants that submit pre-applications."