City willing to work with prospective Ford waterfront land buyer

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With Ford Motor Company deciding to sell three properties as a package deal, Windsor's Mayor says the city is hoping to work with the future buyer, specifically when it comes to the riverfront land.

The properties in question are the 1.1 million square foot property of the old Windsor Engine Plant off Drouillard Road, the old powerhouse property they own, and the vacant waterfront land at the foot of Drouillard, which were put up for sale in September.

Speaking on AM800's The Morning Drive, Drew Dilkens says they don't have interest in trying to buy the other two pieces of land.

"Of course we have an interest in the water front land, and we've asked about it for many years. So Ford knows that we're interested in that, and as soon as they decided to put the land up as a package deal they reached out to us just to let us know what they were doing. And I'm aware of at least four proponents in our community that are interested in putting forward bids," he said.

Dilkens says the prospective parties may not have interest in developing the water front piece, because there are some complexities involved.

"Not all of it is actually earth to ground, some of that land is actually propped up by pillars, which if you're on the water on a boat you can see. And so that restricts the type of weight you can put for development on that land."

He says ideally a long term plan would see an unobstructed path all the way from the Ambassador Bridge through the Hiram Walker property and all the way to the end of the 22 acre parcel of land.

"It would be a major addition to the waterfront that I think people would love. It's a long term goal, the out come of this is uncertain depending on who Ford decides to sell the land to," he continued. "But we are willing to have a conversation with anyone to realize even a walking path, a five metre portion of water front, that would allow us to have a walking path for members of the public."

Dilkens says due to the complexities involved with all three pieces of land it won't be a normal transaction.

Whoever buys the land is really going to have to figure things out, according to Dilkens, and the city wants to be part of the solution to try and unlock more of the water front.