29 Jan 2007
:: Barrie Events Centre Sold to Developer ::
I remembered as a kid going to the Barrie fair and trading money earned from cutting lawns over the summer holidays for corndogs, candy floss and hurling rides on the rock-o-plane. Later as a teenager going with a friend and his dad to the Barrie Raceway and placing my first bet on the horses. The Raceway buildings are now known (at least for a short while longer) as the Barrie Events Centre.
The Barrie Agricultural Society (BAS), owners of this large triangle of land at Essa rd. and the 400 highway going back to when Barrie was a small rural community have just sold the property for a tidy sum of 33 million dollars, a benchmark price per acre for land anywhere in Barrie. The property was purchased by Toronto-based real estate investment firm, Osmington Inc.
How will this land likely serve Barrie in the future? No doubt as a bloated retail developement that will compete for business with retailers in the Bayfield Street shopping district, the Mapleview Shopping district, the soon to be developed Park Place retail district and the Dunlop Street/down town shopping district that already finds itself challenged to attract and keep business by road construction mayhem and the rerouting of downtown traffic that is frustrating many.
City Hall planners better be on the stick in putting the plans together to see that this already busy and crucial traffic area does not become another traffic boondoggle for Barrie.
The Barrie Agricultural Society has plans underway to build new facilities in Innisfil, south along Veterans drive. I have no doubt they will do it up right and that the new facilities will rival the old. That project will cost roughly half what the Barrie location has sold for to develop according to Paul Timpano, BAS President.
It will be interesting to see if the well-to-do BAS comes up with some additional plans for within Barrie. That would be seen as a show of gratitude to all of us who contributed to their existence with our allowances and summer jobs over the past few decades.
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