An Anglican Church in Sandy Hill that went up for sale last summer has been sold to a group of residents planning to turn the building into a community hub on Laurier Avenue.
By Haley Ritchie
The details of the sale were announced Friday by Leanne Moussa, part of a group of Sandy Hill residents who raised the funds to purchase the building as part of the “Save the Saints” working group.
“Historically churches have served as community hubs and we think that’s a role it can continue to play,” said Ms. Moussa, who worked with Susan Young and Diane Whale to make the purchase and organize investors from Alberta and Ottawa.
The sale means Sandy Hill’s T.A.N. Coffee Shop, which closed this weekend after their lease ended, may also find a new home.
The cafe is planning on moving into space at the church in 2016.
Ms. Moussa said the old church would undergo some renovations to become a space for multi-faith worship and a conference center with service for weddings and catered events.
“There are some changes we’ll need to be making in the building but surprisingly it is laid out for the types of uses we’re hoping for,” she said. “We see this as a way to reshape Laurier Avenue.”
“Obviously we’ll have to make some changes to pay the bills,” said Ms. Moussa. “We’d like to see it become a centre for political discourse. There may be other conferences there but we’d like to see it focused around public policy issues and civil society groups.
The former church will also be the new hub for the Prime Minister's Row project, which plans to attract both tourists and locals interested in the capital region's history.
The second part of the property, Bate Hall, will remain a community resource space but is planned for eventual mixed-use development in the future, according to Ms. Moussa.
The Anglican Diocese put the property up for sale in August of last year asking for $1.7-million. The property was advertised by DTZ Canada real estate as a potential development opportunity.
The building is over a century old and is in the heart of a neighbourhood where a number of historic buildings have been converted into rooming houses.
The old church has hosted a royal wedding in its 113-year history and boasts stained glass memorials to former prime minister Robert Borden and WWI veterans.
“Our vision is to create a vibrant urban space that will serve residents and tourists alike,” said Ms. Moussa.
This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on Dec. 18.