The City of Trail snatched up some downtown properties at a bargain price.
The city announced on Wednesday that is has purchased the Union Hotel and three adjacent properties to the immediate south, including two vacant lots and one building on Cedar Avenue, for a total cost of $125,000.
According to the city’s press release, when the sale closes at the end of August 2017, the city plans to demolish the buildings and make the consolidated property ready for redevelopment.
“This strategic acquisition aligns with council’s objective to continue the revitalization of Trail’s downtown,” said Trail Mayor Mike Martin, in the release.
“The buildings and properties are situated along Trail’s main corridor and are highly visible to visitors and through traffic. Initial impressions of our city are crucial; our vision is to improve the city’s gateway by remediating the lots and creating an attractive opportunity for development.”
However, there will be a hefty price tag before it can go back on the market.
Dave Perehudoff, the city’s chief administrative officer, told the Trail Times the city has put together an estimate to demolish the buildings and the remediate the properties.
“At this time, we are estimating that worst-case total demolition and remediation costs would be in the order of $550,000,” said Perehudoff in an email reply. “Given the size and location of the consolidated property on the highway, the city is hopeful that the investment will be fully recovered.”
He added the initial purchase price will be funded from the city’s Land Sale Reserve and there won’t be any specific budget implications as a result.
The press release stated the city anticipates that there will be considerable interest in the property once the remediation is complete.
Perehudoff added there are developers who are looking at the area and “having a larger piece of property with highway frontage like this should generate considerable interest when the property is ready for sale.”
Martin said in the press release that the city has a timeline in place to get the property ready.
“The city plans to have the combined property back on the market in 2018 as part of considering development proposals that ensure that highest and best use for the property.”
The now-closed Union Hotel had an illustrious history. It originated as a union of two older hotels built in 1896 in the Browery area at Victoria and Farwell streets, the year after the smelter was built and five years before the town of Trail Creek was incorporated as a city. In 1908, the two hotels were consolidated and moved to the current location at 898 Victoria St.
According to the historical plaque, the original building was eventually moved in 1939 when construction began on the current building by plasterer S.G. Bagioni and baker Fred Merlo Sr.
Before the sale closes in August, the other building, at 1144 Cedar Ave., which houses a notary public and computer services, will have to be vacated.
The city offered its appreciation to the family who agreed to sell the properties.
“Their understanding and recognition of the city’s future prosperity, through potential new property tax revenue and employment opportunities, should not go unnoticed,” added Martin. “We’ve made huge strides recently and remain dedicated to building a sustainable future and a strong economy.”