From retail hub to residential hub, work continues on prepping former Station 44 lands for development

Craig Garden as crews dig out a road at The Station, a 207-acre development along the Alaska Highway.

Developers are wasting no time readying the old Station 44 lands in Fort St. John for new homes, apartments, shops, and parks that could start to spring up as early as this fall.

Vancouver-based North Point Developments assumed control and ownership over the lands earlier this year, and is currently clearing the 207-acre parcel, located between the Alaska Highway and 85 Avenue, and installing utility services.

Work is already underway on the first phase of the development — now dubbed The Station — a total of 55 acres that will see a mix of 134 new single family and duplex homes.

There are also 21 acres in the first phase reserved for high density residential use for apartments, and a five-acre commercial site for a new hotel along the highway.

“A lot of people have tried to do a lot of things with the land, but have not been successful with it. But, we are,” said project manager Craig Garden.

“What’s happening here (in Fort St. John) is exciting. It’s good to be involved.”

North Point closed on the purchase of the land four months ago, according to Garden, following years of struggle and legal troubles by the property’s former developer, G8 Properties. It’s the only land North Point is currently developing in Fort St. John.

Most of the lots for the first phase are presold, according to Garden, save for a sliver of commercial land that Garden says North Point is retaining for future site construction access, while the deal over the hotel site is still pending.

Garden anticipates much of the service works — roads, sidewalks, boulevards, and underground utilities — in phase one to wrap up this year, with home construction beginning as early as August.

Plans for the first phase also include a five-acre park.

North Point is also retaining four of eight high-density RM2 lots located behind the current shops that line the Alaska Highway frontage road.

North Point will also be splitting the costs of punching the 85 Avenue dead end through to the East Bypass Road with the city as part of the development, according to Garden. Work on that is expected be begin this year.

The company, along with the provincial Ministry of Transportation, will also be working on changes to the Alaska Highway and frontage road, which will include a new interchange and lighted intersection in and out of the development, according to Garden.

Much of that work will begin in the second phase of development, which Garden says will start next year.

North Point plans to clear the remaining 152 acres of land for that second phase later this fall.

Garden says the overall development scales back a significant amount of commercial and retail space that was first proposed for the site, and instead focuses on residential construction.

“We are eager to present to the city and council what we envision some of the needs are for the community,” he said.

Plans for the phase two are still being finalized, but Garden says the plan calls for a mix of residential, commercial, and light industrial lots.

Site servicing works on that phase will begin next year, and Garden hopes to be able to include space for a new medical clinic in the mix.

Garden predicts it will take about five years for the development to fully build out.

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