TRURO – The Town of Truro has purchased a local building with the hopes of seeing more development in the downtown.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills told the Truro Daily News the Sky Office Building, which is located at 49 Esplanade, was purchased by the town at the end of 2012. The building is partially empty but does house Basin Basics Office Products and a storage area.
“We looked at the old Truro Junior High School site as a potential site for the justice centre, so we wanted to square up the property to make it more attractive for development in the future,” said Mills, speculating the building is about 40 years old.
Neither Mills nor town CEO Jim Langille would say how much the town paid for the building so not to jeopardize potential tenders or sales. Langille added the building was previously owned by a “numbered company” and therefore wouldn’t provide the names of the sellers.
The town owns the former junior high school site as well as the adjoining parking lot on Forrester Street between the former junior high and Sky building. Before purchasing the Sky Office building the land was more of an ‘L’ shape instead of a square, which Mills said was less desirable to potential developers.
“It’s a valuable piece of land … we are looking ahead to long-term planning but right now there’s nothing in the foreseeable future,” for the site, said Mills.
There are, however, ideas regarding what could go in that area. The mayor said it would be nice to see a provincial justice centre here and a presentation will be made to the province about its availability. However, said Mills, he can also see the benefit of placing a justice centre beside the Supreme Court on Prince Street.
Another idea for the 3.4 acres of land is building residential units.
“I’d like to see some residences there. Two 10-storey lots were discussed last year for the area. Condos would bring people downtown … and it’s close to all the amenities,” said Mills.
“It might be commercial-residential. We are open to some creativity. (Purchasing the Sky building) presents a huge opportunity for that area and I think it’s a wise decision to buy the property.”
Mills said town council will have to decide how to proceed but “our plan is to start advertising that the lot is available.”
And if the lot is sold, what will that mean to Basin Basics? Mills said it’s too early to know specifics. Staff of the Truro-based business referred this paper to the business’s owner, who is based in Halifax, however, our call was not returned.