Old Chatham jail sells for about $1M
A piece of Chatham-Kent history, dating back to the time before confederation has been sold.
The former Chatham Jail and Courthouse has been purchased from the province by Warrener Properties for about $1-million.
The 169-year-old building officially closed in May 2014 with all operations and inmates transferred to the South West Detention Centre in Windsor.
Carson Warrener tells CTV News the building will just be maintained for now, with future plans up for discussion.
"When you purchase a historic building like this, it's getting in, exploring and checking out the attic and the basement and behind baseboards and revealing a couple layers to see its past."
The building dates back to 1849. During its construction, future Canadian Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie worked on it as a stone mason.
Chatham-Kent Councillor Michael Bondy is pleased the property was privately purchased.
"The jail is obviously a very historic element in our downtown core area," says Bondy.
Last June, Chatham-Kent council voted against buying the property citing cost as a concern in taking over the aging facility.
"Had they not purchased the jail I’m afraid the province probably would have torn it down,” adds Bondy. “Having it go into private hands of a family that has a wonderful, great history of restoring older buildings in the City of Chatham, the news couldn't be better."
The Warreners recently purchased the old Chatham Armoury and turned it into an event centre with office space.
Carson Warrener anticipates another idea will develop.
“Something will come out of the woodwork that will make sense for the use but for the meantime it's in good hands,” adds Warrener.
The OPP will continue to use a portion of the property added in the 1950's.