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Historic commercial real estate property purchased by developer

When a building is so neglected it can scarcely be used, but cannot be torn down due to heritage designation, it can become a major problem. Such is the plight of many heritage buildings across the country. It seems, however, that one such property is about to be saved, as an historic piece of Alberta commercial real estate has been tentatively taken over by an Edmonton developer.

The Brighton Block is a three-storey commercial property built in 1912 that enjoys a commanding view over the nearby river. The brick edifice has been vacant for years and is currently owned by the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta. The Museum group had hoped to restore both the Brighton and the neighbouring Lodge Hotel, but have been unable to raise sufficient funds. The building has suffered from exposure to the elements and is in poor shape at present.

The potential new owner hopes to renovate the interior of the building while preserving the exterior brick work. He also wishes to add a fourth storey before renting retail and commercial space within. The purchase of the building is contingent on gaining approval from the city for his plans. If all goes well, the sale will close in April.

There are many potential lessons to be learned from this commercial real estate transaction. Perhaps the first is to be certain one is not biting off more than one can chew when buying a property for renovation. The second is to proceed with caution when considering a potentially risky investment. An experienced lawyer familiar with Alberta real estate law may be helpful when considering and closing deals of this nature.

Source: Edmonton Journal, "Ukrainian museum to sell heritage Brighton Block to local developer Ken Cantor", Paula Simons, Dec. 28, 2016

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