Orillia council approves sale of former train station

Council approved the final step in the sale of a former train station located at 150 Front St. S. at its meeting on May 6, 2019.

The City-owned property was determined to not have a municipal use and was therefore deemed surplus to the City’s needs in 2011.

“Council recognized the unique heritage features of the former train station and has protected these features by designating the property through the Ontario Heritage Act prior to sale,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “The purchaser, Tim Chow, presented Council with several potential opportunities for redevelopment of the site and we look forward to seeing this property revitalized.”

The 150 Front St. S. property was most recently listed for sale in October 2018 at a listing price of $900,000 with a deadline for offers of Jan. 11, 2019. Several offers were received before one offer was selected by Council for further negotiations. Council passed the by-law authorizing the sale of the property to Chow on May 6, 2019. Details, such as the terms of the agreement and purchase price, will remain confidential until the property sale closes on Nov. 1, 2019.

“The accepted offer represents the highest value financially and exceeded the City’s asking price,” said Laura Thompson, Manager of Real Estate and Commercial Development.

Former tenant, the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce and Service Ontario, recently relocated to a new home at 575 West St. S. Current tenant Ontario Northland, which offers inter-city bus service, can continue to operate from their existing location until Oct. 31, 2019. The purchaser has also committed to speaking with the bus line to determine if there’s an opportunity for them to stay on-site beyond this date. Ontario Northland has expressed an interest in having a continued presence in Orillia.

“Ontario Northland has minimal site requirements and we are confident that the City can assist them in finding another location in the downtown if they are not able to stay in their current location,” said Thompson.

The City of Orillia investigated potential uses for the site, such as a municipal transit hub; however, several factors such as easements over the property, the heritage designation, the lack of direct access to a signalized intersection which has the effect of impeding turning movements for buses entering and leaving the site, and a lack of alternative access points to the site, revealed the site was not well suited for a transit hub.

Moving forward, the purchaser will be required to further complete their development concepts, and will be required to proceed through the applicable municipal approval process prior to starting work on the lands.

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