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Developer says they won’t proceed with Portage Place deal, asks for money back

The street view looking north at the proposed new development at Portage Place. Starlight Developments

Global News has learned The Forks and City Council have been told by Starlight Developments that they will not proceed with purchasing Portage Place, and have asked for their deposit back.

Clare MacKay of The Forks North Portage Partnership confirmed the board was told by Starlight that they could no longer proceed.

“I can confirm that we are aware, yes,” she wrote in an email. “All inquiries on why they are not proceeding should be directed to Starlight.”

Starlight Investments refused to comment Wednesday.

The value of the deposit they are looking to have returned has not been revealed.

Read more: Deal for $400M Portage Place mall still on table as developer reverses course

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This isn’t the first time Starlight Investments has threatened to walk away. At the end of February, the company threatened to pull out of the ambitious project because they said the federal government hadn’t engaged in meaningful discussion about chipping in funding.

The developer originally asked all three levels of government to pony up $20 million to help build the project. The province and the city both agreed in early 2020.

Read more: Proposed $400M redevelopment of Portage Place mall in jeopardy after feds miss funding deadline

The federal government, however, said Starlight changed its ask to $50-million in grants and a $240-million loan.

“That took everybody by surprise. It especially took me by surprise, at this late stage of their own deadline, to all of a sudden up the ante,” said St. Vital/St. Boniface member of Parliament Dan Vandal at the time.

Global News has reached out to Vandal for comment.

The project, a $400-million renovation that would see numerous housing units, community amenities and public spaces added, would also include a refresh of the beleaguered mall itself.

The courtyard at Edmonton Street for the proposed new development at Portage Place. Starlight Investments

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