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City cleared to buy/demolish 196 Van Horne St. for $500K

The building currently houses the Sudbury Multicultural-Folk Arts Association, whose operations will shift to the Cultural Hub at Tom Davies Square
The property at 196 Van Horne St. is being purchased by the City of Greater Sudbury for $500,000 as part of the effort to pave the way for a new downtown event centre or revitalized Sudbury Arena.

The City of Greater Sudbury has been cleared to purchase 196 Van Horne St. as part of a broader project to buy a swath of area properties in the city’s downtown core.

The city’s elected officials decided during a closed session on Tuesday to purchase and demolish the building, which was ratified by a unanimous vote during the public city council meeting that followed.

After the meeting, Lefebvre clarified to that the building was being purchased for $500,000, and that the deal has been in the works for “a number of years.”

There were some issues with the property’s title that delayed matters, which Lefebvre said lawyers have recently resolved.

The building currently houses the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association, whose operations will shift to the Cultural Hub at Tom Davies Square — a library/art gallery/municipal services project planned to take shape at city hall.

The motion passed at Tuesday’s meeting will see to it that the association enters into a 10-year lease agreement by way of a grant, at no cost for the organization.

Tuesday’s meeting also saw the city vote to proceed with the expropriation of 187 Shaughnessy St., which houses Wacky Wings restaurant. The building’s owners told last year that the impending expropriation is “heartbreaking,” and that if they had their way they’d remain in business to serve the proposed arena project.

Lefebvre clarified to that the motion approved on Tuesday was necessary to move forward with the expropriation, and that a final cost to expropriate has yet to be determined.

“It’s all negotiated,” he said. “Lawyers are talking to each other.”

Unlike the vote to purchase 196 Van Horne St., the vote to expropriate 187 Shaughnessy St. was not unanimous, with Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée voting against the motion.

The building is “an asset in that area,” she told after the meeting. 

“I just feel that having a franchise and a big building that is not an eyesore, it is a big focal point for a lot of what is going on at the Sudbury Arena, whether it’s concerts or a hockey game or whatever’s going on, people go there.”

Labbée clarified that she supports city council’s overall vision for the area, but that without a concrete plan, it’s “jumping the gun” to expropriate a property from an unwilling participant.

Although the swath of land the city has purchased and is in the process of expropriating is meant to accommodate a downtown arena project, city council hasn’t decided what that will look like.

In March, they’re expected to decide on whether to proceed with a renovation/renewal of the existing Sudbury Community Arena, or construct a new events centre building.

Whatever city-owned property doesn’t house an arena will be developed to accommodate ancillary services such as a hotel, convention centre or other ventures that might complement the development.

The goal, Lefebvre explained last year, is to “stimulate and create an economic hub.”

With the city owning the properties, which are expected to be demolished by the end of the year, they’ll be a blank slate.

Architects, Labbée said, might see the Wacky Wings building as “a welcome challenge for creativity in putting together their drawings and vision for what can happen with that space.”

Labbée voted for the purchase of other buildings, she explained, because the buildings were in poor condition and their owners agreed to sell them to the city, “so it made sense.”

With the balance of city council voting to proceed with expropriation (minus Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer, who was absent on Tuesday but voted in favour of expropriation on Nov. 28, 2023), it is proceeding.

With the purchase of 196 Van Horne St., the total cost of the city’s downtown Sudbury land project, including demolitions, has been approximately $13.5 million to date. On top of that will be the cost to demolish additional properties, and expropriate Wacky Wings.

Funds are being drawn from the pot of money originally approved for the Kingsway Entertainment District arena/events centre, which was planned to take shape on The Kingsway until city council voted to pull funding and effectively kill the project in July 2022.

Prior to the current round of land purchases/demolitions, this pot of funding sat at approximately $84.8 million of its original $90 million, which the city borrowed at an interest rate of 2.416 per cent.

Once Wacky Wings has been expropriated, the city will own all of the land enclosed by Brady Street to the north, Paris Street to the east, Van Horne Street to the south, and Minto Street to the west, minus the Sudbury Theatre Centre. 

The city also owns the triangular block to the south on which the Ledo Hotel stood until earlier this year, enclosed by Van Horne Street to the north, Shaughnessy Street to the east, and Elgin Street to the south.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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