The Town of Bay Roberts has agreed in principle to a deal with Loblaw Properties Limited to purchase and develop the Bay Roberts business park.
The deal would see the Canadian grocery giant purchase the roughly 60 acres of land off the CB Access Road and look after the development of the site.
Loblaws is the company behind Dominion, No Frills and Atlantic Superstores.
Mayor Philip Wood told The Compass last week that while the proposal has been agreed to in principle, the specifics of the deal still need to be worked out.
"We need to discuss with Loblaws and come up with a final agreement," he said. "This is not a little agreement you can give verbally."
Wood declined to give a time when the final agreement would be hammered out, but did say it would be "sooner rather than later."
Council had no objections to the proposal when it was brought up in a privileged meeting on May 8. However, council did have some concerns.
"We don't want to see it bought and then just sat on," said Wood.
He said there is a timeline in place for the project and he anticipated a deal coming together quickly, and then work can begin on developing the property.
"They're interested in exploring further and we're optimistic a final agreement can be worked out," said Wood.
The public will not know the finer points of the proposal until a final deal has been inked. This was a stipulation of the company, said a town official.
While both parties wait until the final agreements are put together, Bay Roberts must now focus on ensuring the site has water and sewer services.
"It was our intent to go up there with water and sewer all along," he said.
Once the infrastructure has been put into place on the town's end, and with a final agreement in place, work is expected to begin shortly thereafter.
A town official has estimated the cost of installing water and sewer to the park's boundary at between $2 to $3 million.
For Bay Roberts, the proposed deal with Loblaw represents a "momentous step forward" in the plan to bring a business park to life.
The idea of a business park in Bay Roberts harkens back to the council lead by longtime mayor Wilbur Sparkes, 10 years ago, and is finally on the verge of becoming a reality.
"We can finally see the light at the end," said Wood.
The town sought out developers for the park because it wanted to "find someone better suited to develop.
"They know more about developing land than the town does," said Wood.
Wood is also confident that with a Tier 1 retail company in place, more developers will be enticed to come to Bay Roberts rather than other places in Conception Bay North, and add their names to the 302 businesses found in the town's directory.
"It shows confidence in the area," he said.
In an email to The Compass late last week, a Loblaw spokesperson said there were "no immediate plans" for the site, and the company would be disclosing more details "at an appropriate time."
It's not known how the corporation's interest in the business park will impact the Dominion grocery store on the Conception Bay Highway in Bay Roberts.
It has long been speculated that a Dominion Superstore would be a centrepiece for the business park.
Meanwhile, it's the latest positive step in efforts to broaden the region's business base. Just four kilometres away in Tilton, proponents of the Veterans Memorial Business Park announced last month that some $45 million would be spent this year developing the 200-plus acre site.