Dr. Rod Johnston has purchased the North Bay Hydro building.
Johnston, the chairman of Community Waterfront Friends, paid $1.1 million for the Fisher Street building after touring it during the last few weeks.
“It’s a beautiful building in beautiful shape and there’s virtually nothing that will have to be done to it, maybe some painting and planting some flowers,” Johnston said.
“The carpet is like new, and everything inside is amazingly nice, so it looks like North Bay Hydro really took care of it. And when we saw the price we knew it would be a very good investment.”
Once he takes possession of the 1,858-sq. metre building at the end of May, Johnston said he’ll become a commercial landlord and lease space out.
Had the timing of the sale been a little different, Johnston added, his wife, For Better or For Worse cartoonist Lynn Johnston, would have moved her studio into the building.
It will remain in its current location, on MacPherson Drive, in Corbeil.
Found what he was looking for
Johnston said he had wanted to become involved in a commercial venture for a while and even considered purchasing the MCTV building on Oak Street.
But it wasn’t until he was taken through the hydro building, which includes a 743-sq. metre garage, that Johnston knew he found what he was looking for.
“We have a manager at Lynn’s studio who suggested we go see the building,” Johnston said.
“I thought it would be all chopped up inside, but then I’d only been on the first floor paying a bill.”
Really nice view
Johnston said he was particularly impressed with the third floor of the building, which has wall to wall windows on all four sides.
“You can see the bypass and Thompson Park, so it’s got a really nice view,” Johnston said.
He added the building would be perfect for a courier company because of the large amount of floor space and the garage.
Word slipped out
Mac Bain, chairman of North Bay Hydro, said a new conference had planned for next Monday to announce the sale.
Word slipped out earlier, though, and Cogeco North Bay News broke the story, with Johnston's confirmation, during its early evening and late newscasts Monday.
"Apparantly that news conference won't be held now," Bain said.
He also declined to confirm the purchase.
"The holding company has an offer and I can't speak to it because the perspective purchaser has certain conditions which, to our knowledge and our solicitor's knowledge, we don't know if they've been lifted yet," Bain said.
"So it would be inappropriate to talk to it at this time."
Johnson said he hadn't spoken about the sale prior to being contacted by Cogeco.