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By Rosalinda Cerrudo-Javier (In Collaboration with Rodel Ramos)
Prelude to the Purchase
Armed with more or less one hundred and sixty thousand dollars ($160,000.00) in the FCT till, the Board inspected several Toronto locations for a community center in the spring and summer of 2002. The most promising of all was 597 Parliament Street.
Being in the heart of Toronto, the size of the property in contention was encouraging, however, the condition of the property was a little disparaging. Garbage was filed high in the little parking lot at the back of the property occupying three parking spaces; there were several vacant and unmaintained units; cockroaches and mice were all over the place; the biggest area on the ground floor was subdivided into little stalls and only two or three spaces were rented out, leaving a good three quarters of the area empty and rotting. These problems although just the tip of the iceberg, did not deter the Board from actually seeing the real potential of the building.
Although the property was obviously not cared for, some of its features encouraged the Board to further investigate. The board felt that the selling/asking price for the property at one million and fifty thousand dollars ($1,050,000.00) was an amount they can grapple with, especially, with the money they raised so far, about one hundred sixty thousand dollars ($160,000.00).
FCT made the offer, however, they almost stopped dead in their tracks upon learning that the owner was asking for $300,000.00 deposit, not to mention the fact that at this point, FCT realized there were other expenses that go with buying a real estate property: a professionally done feasibility/environmental study, land transfer tax, down payment/deposit for utilities, lawyers’ fees, etc. However, as the Board was resolutely determined, it bit the bullet and proceeded with an offer to purchase!