SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The prime, high-profile piece of waterfront property on the former Coast Guard site, also known as the Fundy Quay, is now in the midst of a makeover as work begins to repair the sea wall in preparation for a major development.

"The sea wall is going to require about $8-million dollars' worth of work," says Saint John deputy mayor John MacKenzie. "$3.27-million is coming from the feds, $2.24-million from the province and the city is paying $1.8-[million] – once that work is done, we're ready to rock 'n' roll."

The repair of the sea wall is part of the first phase of upgrades to the property, which is being readied for an approximately $300-million development project being handled by Fundy Quay Development Inc.  

"They're still working to finalize their plans, but one of the driving uses will be residential," says director of strategic projects for Envision Saint John, Jeffrey Cyr.

"The plan is for a lot of residential, potentially some hotel, commercial as well on the ground floor – maybe a cultural use."

Earlier this year, the province, federal government and municipality announced $24-million to make infrastructure improvements to the site – which also includes soil remediation, the redesign of Loyalist Plaza and the extension of Harbour Passage.

"The fall is where the dramatic change will be seen," says Cyr, "so what will happen on the Fundy Quay site itself when the southern half of the sea wall is finished, we'll start regarding – we'll raise that site in some areas as high as two metres."

The site has seen several false starts over the years – most recently the cancellation of plans to build a brand new provincial museum on the property.

However, Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long says what was essentially a parking lot is now primed to become a 'major economic stimulant' for the region.

"We've talked about this for the last 10, 15, 20 years – about redeveloping the Coast Guard property – it's really one of the last waterfront sites that's not developed in all cities – if you include St. John's, Charlottetown or Halifax.

The first portion of the site is expected to be turned over to the developer for building construction sometime next year.​