Government conceals real-estate portfolio up for sale

The B.C. government has disclosed what property assets it won't sell, but the real-estate portfolio that it does want to put on the block remains a secret.Business in Vancouver has obtained, through Freedom of Information, the government's business plan and list of property assets, after Finance Minister Kevin Falcon revealed in the February 21 budget a desire to raise $700 million from surplus real estate. At that time, Falcon specificallly identified the Vancouver and Kamloops Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) warehouses as real estate to go up for sale. The City of Vancouver values the East Broadway land at $21.14 million, while distribution bidder Exel Logistics estimated it to be worth $40 million in a 2009 internal memo. Falcon also mentioned the assets to be unloaded would include a parking lot near the Legislature, six hectares of vacant Surrey land and seven hectares in Kelowna originally earmarked for the jail that is now being built near Oliver. In October, Deputy Citizens' Services Minister Kim Henderson ordered ministers and deputy ministers to undertake a review and provide a full list of properties to be considered for sale. On December 8, 2011, the Treasury Board presented the Release of Assets for Economic Generation, obtained by BIV. The document reveals ICBC, BC Hydro, B.C. Parks and B.C. Pension properties and land set aside for First Nations treaty settlements as being off limits, or "out of scope." Otherwise, property worth more than $1 million that is marketable by March 2014 and not required by government to meet its strategic priorities is eligible for sale. Agencies named as "in scope" include B.C. Transportation Financing Authority, BC Rail, Health Authorities, Crown lands, B.C. Housing, B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), B.C. Lottery Corporation, LDB, Provincial Capital Commission, Royal B.C. Museum, University Endowment Lands, universities and colleges and Shared Services B.C. The nine-page list of properties is otherwise almost entirely censored, except for a row of category headings. These headings include property description, municipal jurisdiction, location, total assessed value, net book value, estimated net proceeds, whether it is on First Nations property and ranking on a scale for marketability by March 2014. All the contents beneath the headings were redacted. PavCo-owned BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre are the two biggest public buildings in downtown Vancouver. Asked if either would be sold, PavCo chairman David Podmore said, "No." The asset sell-off is a key part of the B.C. Liberal Party's plan to turn the forecast $968 million deficit in 2012-13 into a $154 million surplus by 2013-14. bmackin@biv.com @bobmackin

The B.C. government has disclosed what property assets it won't sell, but the real-estate portfolio that it does want to put on the block remains a secret.

Business in Vancouver has obtained, through Freedom of Information, the government's business plan and list of property assets, after Finance Minister Kevin Falcon revealed in the February 21 budget a desire to raise $700 million from surplus real estate.

At that time, Falcon specificallly identified the Vancouver and Kamloops Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) warehouses as real estate to go up for sale.

The City of Vancouver values the East Broadway land at $21.14 million, while distribution bidder Exel Logistics estimated it to be worth $40 million in a 2009 internal memo.

Falcon also mentioned the assets to be unloaded would include a parking lot near the Legislature, six hectares of vacant Surrey land and seven hectares in Kelowna originally earmarked for the jail that is now being built near Oliver.

In October, Deputy Citizens' Services Minister Kim Henderson ordered ministers and deputy ministers to undertake a review and provide a full list of properties to be considered for sale.

On December 8, 2011, the Treasury Board presented the Release of Assets for Economic Generation, obtained by BIV. The document reveals ICBC, BC Hydro, B.C. Parks and B.C. Pension properties and land set aside for First Nations treaty settlements as being off limits, or "out of scope." Otherwise, property worth more than $1 million that is marketable by March 2014 and not required by government to meet its strategic priorities is eligible for sale.

Agencies named as "in scope" include B.C. Transportation Financing Authority, BC Rail, Health Authorities, Crown lands, B.C. Housing, B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), B.C. Lottery Corporation, LDB, Provincial Capital Commission, Royal B.C. Museum, University Endowment Lands, universities and colleges and Shared Services B.C.

The nine-page list of properties is otherwise almost entirely censored, except for a row of category headings. These headings include property description, municipal jurisdiction, location, total assessed value, net book value, estimated net proceeds, whether it is on First Nations property and ranking on a scale for marketability by March 2014. All the contents beneath the headings were redacted.

PavCo-owned BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre are the two biggest public buildings in downtown Vancouver. Asked if either would be sold, PavCo chairman David Podmore said, "No."

The asset sell-off is a key part of the B.C. Liberal Party's plan to turn the forecast $968 million deficit in 2012-13 into a $154 million surplus by 2013-14.

bmackin@biv.com

@bobmackin