Hungarian centre for sale

Membership shift and high costs prompt the move

After calling St. Clair Avenue West home for three decades, the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre is set to move as soon as they’re able to find more suitable digs.

“It’s the deterioration of the building that’s forced us to make a change, and the lack of parking facility,” said Emoke Jordan, one of the centre’s directors.

Although the three-level building near Oakwood Avenue is well used and contains a gym, library, cultural museum and a hall that holds 500 people, repair costs have become prohibitive in recent years, as have utility bills that exceed $70,000 annually. Add to that a desperate lack of parking for its aging membership and the migration north of much of the Hungarian community, and it became clear the time has come for the centre to move on, Jordan said.

“We are sorry to leave St. Clair — it’s getting better and better. There’s quite a facelift going on,” said Jordan.

While the Hungarian community will now look for a facility further north that better suits its needs, it will likely gain a healthy injection of cash from the sale of the old facility, which currently lists for $5.7 million.

The Hungarian House property is already attracting substantial interest, according to commercial real-estate advisor, Ernest Kockeritz of DTZ Barnicke, the agent responsible for selling the property.

“It’s likely whoever buys the building will want to demolish and start over,” said Kockeritz, noting that roughly 70 percent of inquiries about the site were from those interested in redevelopment, while about 30 percent of inquiries were from those looking to use the existing facility as a community space, a school, or a healthcare facility.

The city’s recently completed design and planning study for St. Clair West, which recommends European-style mid-rise buildings along Toronto’s busy streets, would play a role in the value of the sale, Kockeritz said. In accordance with the study, the new owner of the Hungarian House property would likely get the right to redevelop the site into a building of roughly 5–7 stories with street-level commercial space.

“In acquiring the site you’re acquiring the right to build something double in size to what’s there,” Kockeritz said. He added that several floors of underground parking would likely be part of any redevelopment as well.

About this article:

By: Joshua Freeman
Posted: Mar 31 2010 4:07 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto