LETHBRIDGE – A historic building in downtown Lethbridge is up for sale and includes what is believed to be the first condo in the area with a $1,000,000 price tag according to Realtor Courtney Atkinson.
"We're asking $1.2 million for it (the condo) and some of the features include that it's really a one of a kind property for southern Alberta. Not just Lethbridge. Not only because of the level of finishing this property has, but also because of its prominent location."
Located across from Galt Gardens on 3 Avenue South is the Acadia Building, a nearly 110-year-old structure that was once a ladies’ wear store, a bookstore and housed accounting and law offices on the top floor. The building nearly burned down in 1918 but was re-built.
In 2003, the bottom portion was refurbished by John and Wilma Gerlock, and became Dove Christian Supplies, along with She Boutique. Years later, the couple decided to put their resources into developing the top floor of the Acadia Building and turning it into a luxurious condo.
It was a massive project from the get-go and a labour of love, according to Wilma Gerlock. Vacant when first purchased, the couple took three years to finish it to their specifications.
"This was available, and it just dawned on us that it was a perfect fit. So, we purchased it. There was a lot of damage to the upstairs. There was a lot of water damage to it from leaky skylights. There's 11 skylights in here. There were lots of layers of carpet, little offices. It was pretty dark and dismal in here."
Wilma says one day she came upstairs before the renovations had begun, stood at one of the windows and thought she couldn't bear to make her home upstairs.
"And then he (John) promised me a fireplace in the bedroom and I said 'ok, done. Let's see what we can do with it.' And we started the process and it’s been amazing. It really has been amazing living up here."
The 4,200 square foot home and 1,000 square foot outdoor deck features hardwood floors and in-floor heating; huge, arching windows overlooking Galt Gardens, three bathrooms, three bedrooms, a library, gourmet kitchen with island, formal dining room, kitchen eating area, a flex-room, and even an original walk-in vault which John calls his 'garage.' There is also room to park up to nine-vehicles behind the building.
The couple is selling the home so they can spend more time with family and on the road. The entire building, with the stores included, is priced at $2.2 million.
"We just really want to enjoy our retirement and so we just want to look at travelling and spending our time and money differently."
Atkinson says he has a couple of different strategies to sell the property.
"There's a number of individuals in Lethbridge who could afford a property like this, and through our network, we're approaching those people on a one-off basis...there's a group of people that have wealth that are looking at retiring to smaller communities in different parts of the world and Alberta is an attractive option for tax purposes and in this property specifically you have the advantage of having three commercial properties downstairs, one could buy and lease out the properties downstairs and live above."
As for the downtown location, Atkinson says many local business owners are renovating old buildings. He doesn't anticipate that the concerns residents and other business owners have expressed over the last few months will affect the sale of the properties.
"We're second level for one. Two, when you look out these four giant windows, there isn't a prettier view anywhere in Lethbridge. There's lots of parking in back. It's a very safe part of town and getting safer in my opinion."
So far there has been some serious interest expressed in the entire package, but there's no timeline that the Gerlocks are working under.
Anyone interested in the property can see a virtual tour on Atkinson's website or contact a member of his sales team.
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