Developer buys Sam’s building
Historic property sells for about $1.35 million
By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter
Wed. Feb 13 - 6:42 AM
The Sam the Record Man property on Barrington Street in downtown Halifax has been sold to a local developer.
"We have an accepted offer," Dan Sangster of J. J. Barnicke Atlantic Ltd. said in an interview Tuesday.
The distinctive stone-front building was owned by the Sniderman family, founders of the famed Canadian chain of recorded music stores. It was put on the market two months ago, after the family decided to sell off a portfolio of 17 properties across Canada.
"J. J. Barnicke won the bid to represent the family on all their properties in Canada," said Mr. Sangster, who wouldn’t identify the Halifax building’s buyer.
"It’s in due diligence," he said, adding that the sale is scheduled to close March 31.
The Barrington Street site, which has been vacant since Sam the Record Man shut down its operations in 2007, was the only Sniderman family property in Nova Scotia, Mr. Sangster said.
The building was put on the market for $1.35 million and sold for close to that, he said, adding that there was a lot of interest in the property, both locally and from away.
Joe Ramia, a member of the group that owns and is planning to develop the large Chronicle Herald property on Argyle Street between Prince and Sackville streets, said Tuesday that he wasn’t the buyer of the Sam’s property.
Mr. Ramia is also an owner of the building at Barrington and Blowers streets that houses the Book Room, which recently announced that it is closing after 169 years in business. He said no new tenant has been chosen to occupy the space.
Mr. Sangster said the three-storey Sam’s building will require some renovations. He didn’t know what the new owner plans to put in it, but he said the heritage building’s stone facade won’t change.
Across Barrington Street from Sam’s, renovations are underway at the site of the former Dooly’s billiards club on the main floor of the Roy Building, which is owned by Starfish Properties.
Starfish property manager Rob Landry said the large, 17,000 – 20,000 square-foot-space will house retail tenants, but he didn’t say who those tenants might be or when they might occupy the space.
"We’re keeping timelines to ourselves," he said. "There’s lots of interest."
Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said the Sam’s property is an important element in developing a vibrant retail district on historic Barrington Street.
"People look to the health of Barrington Street as an indicator of the health of the downtown," he said. "Closed buildings are not a good sign."
Mr. MacKinnon said he hoped the new owner of the building will buy into maintaining the street’s historic look, much as he said Starfish principal Louis Reznick has done with the several buildings he controls on Barrington.
Along with the Roy Building at 1658 Barrington, they include 1717 Barrington, home to Telefilm Canada’s regional offices, Peepshow Girly Boutique and Studio in Essence; 1566 Barrington, which houses Attica Furnishings; and 1668 Barrington, home to the Soho Kitchen, Telus, Manpower and the downtown business commission’s offices.