A St. Catharines couple have not only invested in Chatham-Kent, they have invested in preserving some local architectural heritage.
A St. Catharines couple has not only invested in Chatham-Kent, but has invested in preserving some local architectural heritage.
Conn and Diana McAdorey received a welcome Thursday by members of the Chatham-Kent heritage committee and Mayor Darrin Canniff to show their appreciation for their purchase of 317 Queen St. in Chatham, a heritage building.
Conn McAdorey spotted the building, which was built in 1905 to serve as the Canada Business College and later an OPP detachment before being converted into luxury apartments in the late 1990s, and was immediately attracted to the architecture and condition of the structure.
“We look at small townships for investment and, as soon as I drove up to this, I could see the value in the building,” he said.
Drawn by the Dutch Renaissance architecture, the couple said “learning more about the storied history of the building, and it’s long-standing place in Chatham’s history, deepened our interest.”
That history includes the former college e boasting such graduates as James Westervelt, principal of what is known as Westervelt College in London, and Tom Thomson, one of the famous Group of Seven Canadian landscape painters.
The dominant architectural feature is the two large square towers with domed roofs anchoring the front facade.
Between the towers is a large verandah at the front of the building that once held a balcony on the second floor covered by a large awning.
The only modern exterior addition is a rear stairwell installed during the 38 years the building was occupied by the OPP.
Otherwise, the building has the same basic appearance today as when it opened on Jan. 1, 1906.
Heritage committee chair Susan Simpson said five heritage-designated buildings sold in Chatham-Kent over the past year, which was unexpected.
Prior to that, she said the last heritage-designated building sold in Chatham-Kent was in 2016.
“We’ve been looking at how they’ve done in the market, when looking at comparables …they’ve sold for well over their assessed values,” Simpson said.
“We are so very pleased to meet the McAdoreys and learn of their appreciation and passion for maintaining this beautiful building with its significant architectural and historic qualities,” she added. “Queen’s Court is an example of adaptive reuse where the building was transformed from a 1905 Business College to an eleven unit luxury apartment building.”
All adaptive reuse helps to preserve our past for the present and future generations to enjoy and appreciate, Simpson said. Preserving our past creates a richer community, while increasing tourism and promoting residency attraction.
Canniff said Chatham-Kent is a growing community, “but it’s important to remember the past.”
He appreciates the McAdoreys saw the value in the heritage building.
“I look forward to having my grandkids come by this building and see it like it is today.”
Conn McAdorey praised the municipality for helping in the process to upgrade a guest suite to officially take the apartment building from 10 to 11 units.
“We’ve dealt with other municipalities and it can be difficult sometimes,” McAdorey said. “When we dealt with the people downtown here (in Chatham), it was very, very easy every step of the way, including turning this into an official unit.”
Canniff asked them to “spread the word” about their positive experience in dealing with Chatham-Kent.