SAINT JOHN -- A high-profile piece of waterfront property in Saint John with a case of arrested development could finally see construction in the near future.

The green light has been given to a new plan to develop the former Coast Guard site --- an announcement that could give Saint Johners a sense of deja vu.

"It really has the potential to be as impactful, or more impactful, than Market Square has been in being a catalyst for the development of our community," said Develop Saint John CEO Steve Carson.

Common council has approved an agreement between Fundy Quay Developments Inc. and the City of Saint John, which includes an exclusive two-year development option and a 25-year lease-to-own agreement.

"It would be a really eclectic mix of residential, which we've got big demand for in the heart of our community, there is an opportunity for a new hotel, some niche commercial," Carson said.

If this sounds familiar to Saint Johners, it's because the development of the former Coast Guard site has seen a number of false starts over the years. Most recently, there was a cancelled project to build a brand new provincial museum on the site.

Mayor Don Darling says while a healthy dose of skepticism is always good, the timing on this project couldn't be better.

"We have low vacancy rates, we have more demand, we have a lot of momentum, we've done our market study that says we need a lot more product not only all over the city but in particular in the uptown," Darling said. "So, I think the timing is right, I think the partnership is right."

The city is required to repair and raise the seawall, deal with contaminated soil, and raise the elevation of the site another 1.5 metres.

Those are projects that require federal and provincial funds and the city says preliminary results from its bi-lateral funding application are expected this year or early next year.