Three historic downtown Ancaster properties — including one designated heritage building — along a 50-metre stretch of Wilson Street East are being sold by court order.
Offers are being accepted for 398-406 Wilson St. E. until noon on June 2 by Chase Realty broker Jay Brohman, and are scheduled to be considered by the Superior Court of Ontario on June 3. The listed asking price for the block of three properties is $2.59 million. It is anticipated the properties will be sold on June 3 if there is an offer acceptable to the court. Until then, the future of the historic stretch of downtown Ancaster is unclear.
The 164-year-old Marr House at 398 Wilson St. E. is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The four facades of the building, exposed stonework, roof and chimneys, five-pane toplight over the front door and an east façade window must all be preserved.
Staff at Hanley’s Eyewear, the current tenant of 398 Wilson St. E., said the business expects to remain in its current location.
But it isn’t clear what a new owner might do with the block of historic properties, or if existing leases will continue.
Any alterations to 398 Wilson St. E. would require a heritage permit from the City of Hamilton.
Marr House, and two other buildings of historical interest, were ordered sold by the Superior Court of Ontario on Nov. 19, 2013. The proceeds of the sale are to be paid to Canada Trust to pay off more than $980,000 owing on a mortgage on the properties.
According to court documents, former owner Henry Krukowski of Ancaster defaulted on the mortgage on June 16, 2013. Krukowski could not be reached for comment. Ross McLeod, the lawyer acting for Canada Trust, said he could not comment on the matter.
Buildings at 402 and 406 Wilson St. E. – which are also both part of the sale ordered by the court – are included in the city’s Inventory of Buildings of Architectural and/or Historical Interest but are not designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Brown Dog Coffee Shop was expected to move into 402 Wilson St. E. The coffee shop’s website states the business will be “opening soon” in downtown Ancaster.
Erin Davis of Ancaster Discovery Gardens, formerly located at 406 Wilson St. E., said she knew in advance the garden that grows food for the Ancaster food bank would have to relocate. The garden is now being set up at 1631 Wilson St. E.
“We secured the new location by April,” Davis said. “It’s an exciting time for us again, and we’re hoping to get more groups involved in growing these gardens for the less privileged.”
Davis said the volunteer organization was only promised the space at 406 Wilson St. E. for a year, and ended up using it for the past two years. She said the Ancaster Discover Gardens’ new home is in a great location across from the Ancaster farmers market.
The reasons for designation of 398 Wilson note the building may have been built earlier than its estimated construction date of 1850, and the use of stone relates the building to several other important Wilson Street buildings.
“For these reasons, the building is of great importance to the Wilson Street streetscape,” the reasons for designation state.
The City of Hamilton’s historical inventory also includes 400 Wilson St. E., but there is no longer a building at that address.
Larry Friday, the city’s director of taxation said 398 Wilson is a commercial property owing $43,022.11 in municipal taxes and was registered this year with a tax lien. Friday said 400-402 Wilson is a commercial property owing $64,071.97 in municipal taxes and also registered this year with a tax lien. 406 Wilson is a residential property, said Friday, so he can’t release any tax arrears information.
Construction liens were placed on 406 Wilson St. E. in 2013, for $21,409, and in 2014 for $53,809.45. The most recent lien, by Chamberlain Architect Services Limited of Burlington, is a claim for services or materials supplied.