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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - British Columbia said on Friday it had reached a C$480 million ($369.7 million) deal to sell a large swath of land on Vancouver's exclusive west side to three local aboriginal groups, opening up the property for potential redevelopment.
The deal, which includes two parcels totaling a combined 38.8 acres (15.7 hectares), will give the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations control over the majority of the so-called Jericho lands in Vancouver's West Point Grey neighborhood.
The three First Nation groups, along with the federal government's Canada Land Corporation, had previously purchased a separate 52-acre Jericho lands parcel from the Department of Defence.
Located just blocks from many of Vancouver's most expensive properties, the Jericho lands include a former military base along with a recreation center and a private school.
Redevelopment of the roughly 90-acre site could create an entire neighborhood of homes, potentially helping to address a housing shortage in Vancouver, where sky-rocketing real estate prices have pushed ownership out of reach for many residents.
The province said it will transfer the first parcel to the First Nations this November, with the second transfer in November 2017, spreading the proceeds of the sale over two budget years. The two parcels are of similar size and value.
In February, British Columbia projected a surplus of C$264 million in fiscal 2016-17 and C$287 million in 2017-18.
The deal follows a consultation process between the province and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, whose traditional territories include the city of Vancouver.
It was not clear how the aboriginal groups are financing the purchase, though they have worked with local builder Aquilini Developments on previous projects.
Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Tom Brown