NEW FUTURE FOR GOTHIC ARCHES SITE
–New buyer has transformational plans for the site–
October 30, 2019 – SAINT JOHN, NB— The Gothic Arches at 95 Wentworth has sold. The building has been sitting idle for over a decade, and buyer Percy Wilbur has plans for new construction that will help attract residents to the Uptown neighbourhood.
Wilbur plans to dismantle the former church building before the new year and to start construction on a new, high-end multi-unit apartment complex on the site this spring.
The building has been on the City of Saint John’s dangerous and vacant building list for several years. There was little-to-no maintenance done on the building for several decades, and the stone structure was unheated for the last ten years. Neglect has left the building in poor condition inside and out.
“Unfortunately, there’s no profitable business case for investing all the money it would take to make the structure stable, plus all the money to renovate and convert the building,” said Wilbur. “You can’t get the rents you’d need to justify the costs. That’s, unfortunately, why the building has been left undeveloped for so long. There has been lots of interest in the building, but it hasn’t been re-developed because it’s too costly, and it’s just not possible to get a return on that investment.”
“As sad as I am about the fate of the building, I am highly honoured to take this site that’s been sitting idle and neglected for decades and transform it into an attractive building the whole neighbourhood will be proud of,” Wilbur added. “I hope to save as many of the building’s heritage elements that I can. It’s still early in the design planning stages, but I do hope to incorporate many of the architectural elements in the design of the new building.”
Wilbur has operated property development and facility management businesses in Saint John for over 30 years. He has decades of experience in residential, industrial, and commercial development in the city. His latest project, the transformation of the vacant and derelict property at 1 Charlotte Street (corner of Charlotte and Union), has brought new vibrancy and life to what was once the retail hub of Uptown Saint John. The rehabilitated property is now home to commercial and residential space, with Jones Gallery in the street-level space and several high-end residential units on the upper floors.
“I’m encouraged by what 50-80 new high-end units at 95 Wentworth site will do for our community and our economy,” said Steve Carson, CEO of Develop Saint John. “There’s a shortage of available properties in the Uptown right now. People want to move here, but we don’t have the housing they’re looking for – yet, that is. Percy’s proposed new units will help correct that shortfall and will help attract new residents and added vitality to our Uptown. There’s renewed vibrancy and demand for residential spaces in our Uptown, and these new high-end apartments will give people who want to live Uptown more and different products to choose from.”
“One key path to strengthening our city’s financial standing is through population growth,” Carson added. “Uptown is the fastest growing area of our city, and we need to continue encouraging investment in our original city neighbourhood. We need a mix of housing offerings in this area: high-end units, single-family homes, and affordable options together to create a mixed-income neighbourhood. We need people of all ages and stages to make our Uptown their home. We need a new school. We need the amenities residents want. That’s the path to reducing poverty and revitalizing our city.”
“I’m eager to create a new, sought after residential address that will be a source of pride for the neighbourhood,” Wilbur added. “This project adds strength to the already strong movement back to Uptown – a neighbourhood that was, and is again, the pride of our city.”
For further information:
Develop Saint John
About Develop Saint John https://developsaintjohn.com/
Develop Saint John’s mission is to grow the tax base in Saint John by relentlessly creating and seizing strategic real estate opportunities and getting deals done. Its mandate is to grow the City’s tax base and improve the quality of life of citizens. A volunteer Board of Directors made up of government, community leaders and private sector representatives leads it.