Windsor Jail sells to unknown, but local buyer
The sale of the former Windsor Jail in Sandwich Town has been completed by the province, but the buyer is not yet being made public.
Built in 1925 and vacant for five years after it was shuttered in favour of the Southwest Detention Centre, the province sold the jail to the undisclosed buyer for $150,000 in "as is" condition.
"A hundred and fifty grand? Beautiful, lucky for him,” says Faizool Ali, who lives across the street from the jail. “I hope they do something great with it."
The 1.67 acre property on Brock Street consists of not only the jail but also an administrative building and the parking lot out front of McKenzie Hall.
"We're hoping for the best,” says Sandwich Town resident Terry Kennedy, noting he’d like to see a long-promised museum occupy the building. “We want to hear what the new owners are going to do with this building."
Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante also wants more details about the buyer and their plans for the buildings and parking lot.
"The parking lot is extremely important to McKenzie Hall,” Costante told reporters Monday evening. “And so how that gets negotiated with the city is going to be priority. And then what they decide to do with the registry and the jail, I hope they're going to consult with the community."
Costante says he also doesn’t know who the buyers are.
“Whoever they are, I’m eager to meet them. My office is on Sandwich and Mill.”
Although Infrastructure Ontario is not disclosing the identity of the buyers at their request, the mayor’s office confirms they are local.
"(I) have had a chance to meet with them and they have put forward a few different ideas and I think they really need some time to fully understand what the impact of their ideas are," Mayor Drew Dilkens told AM800’s The Morning Drive Tuesday morning.
Dilkens says the city was interested in the property, but once they looked at the cost of repairs, it backed off.
"That is a building that one would consider to be the thread in the sweater that when you start something, you don't know exactly where it ends,” Dilkens says. “$20 million was probably a conservative estimate that we had for a reconstruction or redevelopment of that property."
Coun. Costante indicates the community shouldn’t be alarmed at what will come of the site because it’s protected – with any future uses going before the development and heritage committee and then council.
“They’re very-much restricted by the heritage conservation district, so what they can and can’t do is somewhat restrictive,” Costante says.