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No price tag on 326-acre Guelph Innovation District lands that the province will sell this year

Province will be selling its land but the development of it will be guided by the city's secondary plan

The 326 acres of undeveloped land that make up the Guelph Innovation District should be sold to a developer by the end of the year.

"It will go to market in June," City of Guelph CAO Scott Stewart said, adding that the plan is to sell it "for sure this year."

The province owns 326 acres of land that make up the Guelph Innovation District, stretching along the east side of Victoria Road from York Road to Stone Road, including lands that used to be home to the Wellington Correctional Centre and Turfgrass Institute.

It does not include the former Guelph Correctional Centre property.

At Monday's meeting of Guelph City Council the company that will be selling the property for the province made a brief presentation and answered a couple of questions from council.

Mike Czestochowski, the executive vice-president, CBRE Limited, said his company is the broker for Infrastructure Ontario.

He said his company will be using a modified auction model to sell the property and that a price will not be set when marketing materials are sent out to developers.

The city has previously stated the property is valued at roughly $60 million.

Guelph does not have a final say who the land gets sold to.

"We'll influence the type of things that are important to us," Stewart said. "It's not lost on us that we still need employment lands."

The city's secondary plan for the area will guide what happens to the property, which is slated for a mix of employment and residential uses, as well as maintaining a portion that is protected conservation land.

"Those things are embedded into the secondary plan," Stewart said.

Helen Loftin, the city's general manager of business development and enterprise, told council staff wants to make sure the winning developer "can do it and do it right."

Czestochowski said the property will be marketed locally and internationally and that bids will be collected. Those bids will be reviewed, three to 10 bids will be selected for the discussion phase, then the bids will be re-submitted and a qualified winner chosen.

In 2017 council voted in favour of purchasing the land from the province and selling it itself. But earlier this year it had a change of heart and decided that buying the property and selling it itself would be too financially risky for the city.