Alma College on the block as dream fails

Article from St. Thomas Times Journal - February 2002
By Eric Bunnell, Times-Journal Staff

There's new evidence that plans to redevelop Alma College have turned into another pipe dream for the property. Alma Heritage Estates, current owner of the St. Thomas landmark, is trying to sell the former private girls school. And furniture stored in the former music building was being removed this week.

Alma president Brian Squires didn't respond Friday to a request for an interview. But agent Fritz Wagner of J.J. Barnicke London Windsor Sarnia Ltd. has confirmed that Alma has asked the commercial real estate specialist to list the property. Barnicke hasn't accepted - Wagner said he first has to consider whether he can find a buyer.

Alma Heritage Estates has owned the property since 1998, when it announced plans to build a community for older adults. The company bought the campus at auction after several attempts by others to reopen the closed school. City council approved official plan and zoning changes to permit redevelopment - and allowed partial demolition of buildings following promises that Alma's heritage-designated main block would be preserved.

But there have been concerns voiced more recently by some council members, and by council's own heritage advisory committee, about the future of the landmark.