Mystery buyer snaps up derelict Turner Building

A buyer has been found for the run-down 1940s-era Turner Building and its two neighbouring lots after it went on the market in mid-November.

It’s not yet known who bought the two-storey building, or what the plans are for the 2002 Richmond Rd. site.

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Real estate agent Gregg Mah said Friday that it is his understanding that the purchaser wants to “maintain the integrity of the building.” He had no other details.

“I can only say that the Turner family are very happy with the outcome of the sale.”

There was interest from “multiple” potential buyers, Mah said. The property was listed for $1.4 million. The selling price for the building and two lots was “substantial,” he said.

Conditions on the offer have been removed, he said. The closing date is not being revealed.

The Turner Building is an eye-catching structure near Royal Jubilee Hospital. The now-closed Ian’s Jubilee Coffee Shop used to be a popular spot for hospital staff and other city residents.

As its coffee shop and rental apartments shut down, the building was left to deteriorate for close to 13 years. A section of the wall crashed to the ground in September, causing the city to erect barricades around the building to keep pedestrians safe. Part of the road has been closed as well.

A safety inspection found a number of problems, including mould and water damage.

On Oct. 24, Victoria council voted to give the Turner family 28 days to either apply for a demolition permit or plan a redevelopment. A further 30-day extension was granted on Nov. 12.

The property has sparked strong feelings among those who hold fond memories of the building and admire its architecture. A Save Ian’s Coffee Shop group, as well as Ian’s Jubilee Coffee Shop Fanclub, have been set up.

Coun. Shellie Gudgeon, who is responsible for the Jubilee area, is pleased that the site has a new owner. “I’m very hopeful and optimistic that a developer will bring forward a quality proposal ASAP.”

The property is on a key corner, she said. “I know there was lots of interest in the local development community.”

She does not know who has bought it but is hoping for community engagement to discuss the site’s future.

While Gudgeon does not know if the structure is salvageable, there was community discussion about preserving some of its elements or possibly incorporating some of its features.

No applications for the property have been submitted to the city of Victoria, spokeswoman Katie Hamilton said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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