Branningham-now-fullBy Hub Staff
Branningham Grove is back in our headlines. The city's Community Planning and Heritage Advisory Committee unanimously recommended that the City give notice of their intention to designate the 1881 building under the Ontario Heritage Act. At their April 13 meeting, Owen Sound City Council will deal with this recommendation.

What's the rush?

As of this writing, the High Victorian building at the eastern entrance to the city is the subject of a demolition permit which gives authority to the owners to level it anytime after May 5 this year. Deputations by Aly Boltman and Christy Hempel at the last City Council meeting [available at minutes 15:20 and 28:40 of the council meeting video] not only made the heritage and planning case for retaining the building, but specifically inquired as to the apparent hurry to demolish it.

Louis Gavaris, of Louis' Steak House fame, is both the listing agent for the property and a minority owner of Halton Place Horse and Country Inc. of Georgetown, the current mortgage holders. He originally sold the property “no strings attached” to its current owner who subsequently sold it to Villarboit Development Corporation – the developers of the ironically named Heritage Grove on the south side of 16th Street.

When the four parcels of real estate (7.8 acres) on which the building stands were returned to the original purchaser, they were listed for sale at $1.8 million. The Georgetown owner has no plans to develop the property, and according to Mr. Gavaris, no offers or development plans for the land have come forward, with or without the building. Removing the building may or may not make the property more attractive to outside investors, but it would reduce the expenses of the current owner including property taxes payable to the city of Owen Sound.

Tonight's meeting begins at 7 p.m. and, as always, is open to the public.


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