February 28th, 2024

Empty Aurora facility no longer listed with real estate firm

By COLLIN GALLANT on January 13, 2022.

The Auroroa Sun facility in northwest Medicine Hat is no longer an active listing with national commercial real estate brokerage firm Colliers, though the company is not commenting on the development. -- News Photo Collin Gallant, Jan. 13, 2022.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

The highest profile piece of real estate in Medicine Hat is no longer being advertised for sale – which could mean good news or yet another holding pattern for those watching closely the Aurora Sun greenhouse issue.

The vacant greenhouse and processing facility in northwest Medicine Hat was advertised as a potential sale or sub lease opportunity with Collier’s nationwide commercial real estate service last winter. A note stated the owner would evaluate proposals for the unique, but unfinished 1.7-million square-foot facility in the summer.

That deadline passed with no news from Aurora Cannabis, the developer which halted work on the $300-million production hub to rebalance its business model and finances after the cannabis market failed to live up to grand expectations.

Company officials told the News on Wednesday that they continue to market the facility for alternative use, but would provide no further comment.

The Edmonton-based cannabis producers made note in a quarterly financial report last fall that it had sold several smaller production facilities that were also closed last year as the company slashed costs. But, it didn’t mention specific locations.

Economic observers have watched the property since a power deal and development subsidy from the City of Medicine Hat helped land the greenhouse development, which promised hundreds of jobs just as marijuana sales were legalized.

With a massive power connection to the city’s grid, the building was suggested as a potential data-processing centre, cryptocurrency facility or a variety of purposed or manufacturing by the Collier’s marketing material.

Last summer, City of Medicine Hat economic development officials stated they believed that if the facility was put to another use, the change in tax assessment value would recoup the city’s initial $6-million levy subsidy to the development by the year 2025.

Aurora typically doesn’t post its reporting dates well in advance, but in 2021 reported its second-quarter financial report on Feb. 11.

Other listings nearby

The other major Medicine Hat-based listing with Colliers remains, though with a major alteration.

The firm had been tasked by Viterra several years ago to list about 2,400 acres of land from its historic holdings in Medicine Hat north of Rotary Centennial Way (formerly 23rd Street).

That listing is still open, though the northern parcels have been removed from the market.

Those lands are directly north and east of the former Westco Fertilizer tailing pond that Viterra owns. Last year, the News revealed that Viterra was in long-term lease discussions with solar facility developer DP Energy for the 1,000-acre pond site.

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