Barrie moves closer to realizing new Fisher Auditorium theatre and event centre

Artistic rendition of proposed Fisher Auditorium arts and event centre

Barrie has taken another step towards the possible revitalizing of the W.A. Fisher Auditorium into a 650-seat theatre and 400-seat event centre.
Monday night, general committee approved a staff recommendation to remove conditions that had been set in relation to a land deal between the City and developer, HIP Barrie Central Inc. (HIP). Conditions included a plan over the presence of Chimney Swifts, birds which have nested on the site for years and are classified as an endangered species.
“HIP has completed studies and has prepared a Mitigation and Restoration Plan that has been accepted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Vegetation has been removed from the Fisher Property by HIP in accordance with the City Tree Policy. No other Species at Risk issues have been identified,” a staff report informed committee.
If adopted by council next week, the City would sell the Red Storey field, once the football and track field of Barrie Central Collegiate, to HIP, along with a strip of property along Bradford Street. In exchange the City would get the auditorium land. The developer wants to build residential units along Bradford.
The City is hopeful that the Barrie YMCA will integrate its planned new centre into the development of the auditorium, but if that doesn’t turn out to be the case then staff is to report back with potential alternatives “should the YMCA choose to locate elsewhere,” reads the report.
The motion adopted by committee included an increase of $200,000 in the budget of Capital Project #000633 (Fisher Auditorium Redevelopment) “to address costs associated with completing the transactions,” and that “a portion of the allocated funds previously approved … be used to conduct property due diligence activities such as survey, geotechnical, environmental and archaeological investigations.”
According to the report, the 1.465 hectares of the Red Storey field has an agreed purchase price of $5,259,000 (HIP purchase from City), with the property having been appraised in the range of $4,835,000 to $5,054,000.
Another .215 hectares of land along Bradford will be included in the deal. It will be sold to the developer for $955,000. The Fisher Auditorium land comes with a purchase price for the City of $6,214,000.
“The property was appraised by an external appraiser which estimated value for property outside of the floodplain to be $2,906,000 per hectare and property within the floodplain to be $1,453,000 per hectare. The area of the property to be purchased consists of approximately 0.935 hectares outside of the floodplain and 0.849 hectares within the floodplain and equates to an appraised value of $3,951,000.
“In addition to the appraised value of the property, staff have attributed a value to Fisher Auditorium of $1,234,000. The purchase price exceeds the appraisal value by $1,029,000,” reads the report.
The land deals are conditional upon “council approval, due diligence investigations of soil conditions and the simultaneous completion of all the agreements.”
It has been reported that the anticipated costs for the auditorium project are in the neighbourhood of $25 million.
To read the report, click here.