The City of Cranbrook has reduced it’s asking price of the old firehall by $99,000, with the new sale point at $250,000, according to realtor Philip Jones.
Part of the problem in the original pricing at $349,000 was that there wasn’t much comparable sales of similar structures that could be found in the B.C. Assessment Authority.
Jones suggested an independent appraisal, which the city did and subsequently readjusted the market price.
“I know it seems like a big price reduction, but you have to look at what the price was in the first place. In the real estate business, we try to put active pricing on properties and some properties are more difficult than others,” said Jones.
“That one was particularly difficult because there are no comparable sales that are anywhere close to it. It’s got a heritage value so part of the building needs to be preserved.
“In reality, the most economic plan for anybody developing that site would be to bulldoze the building and start new, but that’s not in the cards.”
Jones said the building has generated a lot of interest and that buyers have been sniffing around, but there haven’t been any reasonable offers.
“[The] most reliable indication of pricing is you put it on the market, in this case because it’s a tough one to call, and we had a lot of interest, lots of people looking at it, but not a lot of reasonable offers because of the work that’s going to be required to bring it up to code,” Jones said.
“Buyers were just not jumping up to take advantage of the opportunity; that always tells you that you have an issue with price, if you have a lot of showings, but no offers.”
Complicating the issue is that it’s not a building that a buyer can move into and immediately operate out of because of structural, electrical and mechanical issues, he added.
“Inside the building, because of the age of the building…when you go in it, there’s a lot of building code issues,” Jones said.
“I went through it with a building inspector and nobody could even get a permit to occupy the building right now because it doesn’t meet code in so many areas.
“It’s going to need a structural engineer report, an electrical engineer report and a mechanical engineer report. So those consultants alone cost quite a bit of money, then you got to do the work, so it’s not just a simple matter of buying the building and moving in.”
City council addressed another issue at a regular meeting on Monday by rezoning the property for commercial purposes, which opens up the land use options.
“There was only one party that could’ve used the existing zoning of P1—Public Institutional, but everybody else would have to have a zoning change to C1, which is what the zoning is in the area,” Jones said.
“…If you compare the C1 permitted zoning with the P1 permitted zoning, they’re vastly different. Under C1 zoning, a lot of things can be done with it consistent with all the other surrounding business and buildings, whereas P1 is very specialized.”
The fire hall has been up for sale since July 2015 after council made an in-camera decision to put in on the market earlier that year.