County snaps up bank building downtown

CIBC at Front St. and Lochiel Street in downtown Sarnia. October 27, 2017 (Photo by Stephanie Chaves)

The County of Lambton has snapped up a prime piece of real estate beside the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery in downtown Sarnia.

The sale of the former CIBC building at 190 Front St. N closed Tuesday.

Warden Bill Weber said the county bought the 8,180 square foot building for $1.025 million.

“Part of our lease agreement, for the upper portion of that building with the JNAAG Art Gallery, was that we had first right of refusal on the property when it became available,” said Weber. “So, we exercised that right and come to a deal that will satisfy the needs and it’s a prime location in downtown Sarnia.”

The downtown CIBC branch closed in May of last year.

Weber said county staff will spend the coming weeks evaluating the best fit for use of the facility’s ground floor.

He expects renovations to begin in the new year.

From 1877 until shortly before its sale to the county, the property had been continuously owned and operated as a Bank of Commerce, then a CIBC branch.