Lack of interest kills Prince Street condo project

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - A condo project proposed for the former site of the Immanuel Baptist Church is dead.
A development agreement between the town and the developer lapsed earlier this summer and the property is now up for sale for $399,000.
Owner John Henry said the demand for his condo project never materialized to make the development viable.
He said about a half dozen people were firmly interested in his 22-condo proposal, while he was "inundated" with calls from people looking for apartments.
"There's lots of big companies that love to develop apartments, so we're just looking to move that (property), including all the plans that they can adapt to apartments," Henry told the Truro Daily News yesterday.
Henry purchased the property in 1998 with the dream of converting the Queen Anne Revival-style church, located at 651 Prince St., into a centre for the performing arts. But public interest was not sufficient enough to raise the $1.25 million in venture capital to continue the project.
In August 2002, Henry proposed building condos. After five years of work, he received permission to build residential units on the site but never got enough interest to start construction.
In late 2006 the historic church, built in 1893, burnt to the ground.
"It was a lovely building," Henry said. "Some of the ideas, it would have been nice to see them come to fruition but that's the way it goes."
Despite the proposals never becoming reality, he remains very positive.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Henry said. "The decision to pass this on to a large apartment developer ... was an easy one."
His condo plan included two penthouse suites on the top floor, a rooftop garden and some amazing architectural components.
"For apartments it's easily adaptable," Henry said. "A lot of good groundwork has been done. I'm sure there will be, certainly, interest for the land and, hopefully, for that particular project idea."
Mayor Bill Mills said he thought Henry's idea was a good one but is hopeful another business person will develop the property, which is listed as 20,530 square feet.
"I am quite confident somebody is going to look at that property and see it for the value it has," he said.
Henry said the initial interest in the property has been for retail and office space.

jmalloy@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Immanuel Baptist Church, Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Prince Street

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  • Sam
    January 18, 2010 - 10:06

    I didn't find the design of the proposed structure appealing at all; to me, it looked like some kind of minimalist experiment. The renderings I saw on real estate agents' websites were dark, simplistic, and brooding (to me, anyway).

    It's too bad the old building burned down. It was very cool. When it was burning, I went to check it out, but the smoke was nauseating and asphyxiating.
    I got the heck out of there because of all the toxic smoke. But so many people gathered to watch it burn, and many had their kids with them, while clouds of smoke engulfed them.

    I feel sorry for the kids who were dragged there. They may die early
    deaths because of the shingle smoke they inhaled, asbestos dust, etc. Gee, thanks Mom and Pop!

  • Gilliad
    January 18, 2010 - 09:45

    Perhaps if the condominium pricing and location had been realistic, Mr. Henry's project might have gone ahead.

    While there is certainly a segment of the Truro population that is prepared (and able) to pay $250,000-plus for their residences, they're also getting good value for large homes (most 2,000 sq. ft +) on private lots in rather nice subdivisions.

    This certainly does not describe (a) a similar landscape situation on Prince Street - unless you enjoy watching the street people enjoying their refreshments - or (b) the shoebox-sized units I saw displayed in the realtor's advertising.

    We may be small-town folk, Mr. Henry - and you too, Mr. Mills - but that doesn't mean we're suckers or stupid.