Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

New life for old fire hall

The city has accepted Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal to redevelop the iconic downtown fire hall.

FILE PHOTO Enlarge Image

The city has accepted Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal to redevelop the iconic downtown fire hall.

Brandon’s historic downtown fire hall will be transformed into a mixed-use commercial and residential space.

Tanya Marshall, the city’s manager of property administration, answers questions regarding the recommendation to accept Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal for the historic former fire hall at 637 Princess Ave.

Enlarge Image

Tanya Marshall, the city’s manager of property administration, answers questions regarding the recommendation to accept Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal for the historic former fire hall at 637 Princess Ave. (JILLIAN AUSTIN/BRANDON SUN)

City council has accepted Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal to redevelop the vacant fire hall at 637 Princess Ave.

"I’m delighted first of all," Phil Dorn, senior engineer and president of Samson Engineering, said following council’s unanimous vote. "But along with that there’s a little bit of a realization that what an iconic piece it is, and what an important part of the city it is."

Two proposals were submitted to the city — by Samson Engineering, as well as Bowerbird Holdings Ltd.

Tanya Marshall, the city’s manager of property administration, described both proposals and the reasons Samson Engineering was the preferred choice.

"Phase 1 would consist of the development of the main floor for target tenants of either specialty market with bakery, café, restaurant, European-style delicatessen … specialty wine shop or other," Marshall said of Samson Engineering’s proposal.

Phase 2 and 3 of Samson’s proposal would consist of the development of the second and third floors into either rental and/or condo apartments, commercial offices, educational or medical facility, banquet facility or museum. Initial occupancy of the main floor is anticipated to be finalized by 2016, and full occupancy of the building is anticipated by 2019, with the second and third floors reliant on market demand.

Samson Engineering offered to purchase the building for $100,000, while Bowerbird Holdings offered $50,000.

Bowerbird’s vision for the building was similar to Samson’s proposal. It proposed to create an open-concept market hall with mixed-use dining and retail outlets on the main floor. Bowerbird also proposed a mix of one-bedroom and studio suites on the second floor, and apartments and loft space on the third floor.

An evaluation committee consisting of staff from the city’s engineering, property, planning, heritage and economic development departments examined both proposals, and ultimately recommended Samson’s.

"While both proposals submitted would be welcomed additions to downtown Brandon and further the vision for the area," Marshall said.

The evaluation committee concluded that Samson Engineering’s proposal is the better choice.

The reasons for recommending Samson’s proposal include the fact that its phasing plan provides for an immediate possession and development of the main floor and exterior first and the overall proposed use enhances the Downtown HUB vision and provides economic opportunities.

Marshall’s report also states that Samson Engineering has past experience with similar projects and financial support from its financial lender.

"We’re making inquiries with prospective tenants and we’re looking forward to move ahead on it," Dorn said.

Jason Sneath, who co-owns Bowerbird Holdings Ltd. along with Robyn Sneath, said they are disappointed in the decision, as they spent a lot of time and resources on their proposal.

"(We) felt our vision for the fire hall closely aligned with the city’s vision in that it would turn this historic building into a fun destination downtown, bring more people downtown, and add some much-needed low-income housing in a very unique space," he said.

Sneath said they are passionate about investing in Brandon’s downtown and are encouraged that others share that vision.

"I live, work, and am developing in downtown, so anything that improves it is something I’m happy about," he said. "We commend Samson Engineering for its commitment to revitalizing this landmark property. We look forward to hearing the details of their plan and seeing the final results."

The fire hall was constructed in 1911 and designated a municipal heritage site in 2000.

The appraised value of the property has been established (as of 2012) at $370,000.

As for a timeline, Dorn said it’s a bit up in the air, as the first thing that has to happen is changing ownership of the building.

"Then we have to go through the heritage committee, we have to make arrangements with the tenants that are going to go in there, so there’s some work to do," he said. "We want to move ahead expeditiously."

The city denied Samson Engineering’s request for a two-year property tax suspension. However, it encouraged the company to apply for a tax credit through the Renaissance Distract Tax Credit Program.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @jillianaustin

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 8, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article is currently rated an average of 1 out of 5 (1 votes).
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 2 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

boooring

Will the NDP Govt allow Brandon to get a specialty wine store?

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Brandon’s historic downtown fire hall will be transformed into a mixed-use commercial and residential space.

City council has accepted Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal to redevelop the vacant fire hall at 637 Princess Ave.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Brandon’s historic downtown fire hall will be transformed into a mixed-use commercial and residential space.

City council has accepted Samson Engineering Inc.’s proposal to redevelop the vacant fire hall at 637 Princess Ave.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100

Social Media