Toronto Firm Buys Old Woolworths Building On King Street In Saint John

Image: Mark Leger

SAINT JOHN – FKLE Investments Inc. has purchased the properties at 91 and 22 King Street after Roo Chang of Integrity Real Estate Investment, who purchased both properties earlier this year, decided not to proceed with the redevelopments for the two buildings.

Michelle Hardy of Coldwell Banker Select has been working with the new Toronto-based owners, who took possession of the building November 2.

Hardy says FKLE has investigating real estate development opportunities in Atlantic Canada for the last several years with a particular focus on Saint John.

“The owners of FKLE are very impressed with the energy and vibrancy in Saint John and are really looking forward to contributing to that,” said Hardy in a release.

The company will be working with their engineers and architects to evaluate various options for the building at 91 King. Hardy and Stephanie Turner of Partners Global will begin the search for tenants at 22 King Street right away.

“[It] is in very good condition and we are beginning the process of identifying retail, office or commercial tenants,” said Hardy.

Image: Mark Leger/Huddle

Steve Carson, CEO of Develop Saint John, worked with Chang on the original deal to redevelop the old Woolworths building. He is optimistic about a fresh start with the new developer.

“I have been very encouraged by the discussions I have had with representatives of FKLE Investments,” said Carson in an e-mail. “They have been exploring investment opportunities in Saint John and seemed to be quite knowledgeable about our real estate market.

“They plan to conduct a full analysis of 91 King before deciding on the best approach to redevelop the property. By its nature, this is a complicated project so engaging the appropriate expertise is a wise decision.”

Chang and Siobhán Riley, her daughter and business partner, had grand ambitions for the buildings, planning to invest millions in both and constructing up to 10 additional floors with as many as 60 residential units at 91 King St.

Chang moved from Vancouver to Saint John late last year and, on an earlier visit, was struck by the possibilities for the building at the top of King Street and the Uptown in general.

“Every time I walked by [that building] I couldn’t get over how sad [it was] that it was standing there, thinking how beautiful this city is and the potential that it has to go back to the old glorious days,” said Chang. “It’s just a matter of people [being] willing to do that.”

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