Another key piece of real estate in downtown Simcoe is back in play after sitting idle for more than a year.
The former Baldock Funeral Home at the corner of Norfolk Street North and Union Street has been sold to a Mississauga developer, the realtor involved and the purchaser have confirmed. The developer is Shabbir Dossa, 48, owner of properties in Paris and Brantford that he is also re-developing.
Dossa intends to re-establish a gas station and convenience store on the Baldock parking lot immediately south of the Simcoe post office. As for the former funeral home itself, Dossa intends to establish an Indian restaurant with authentic cuisine from south Asia and a sideline in shawarma sandwiches.
Dossa says the negotiation was lengthy, complicated and difficult but he is thrilled the property is in his hands. The sale closes March 15.
“I’m in love,” Dossa said. “I think I’ve got a really good corner. I’ve told my agent it’s one of the right things I’ve done in my life.”
Dossa’s speciality is buying land in strategic locations and converting it into service stations.
The corner in question is a good location for a gas bar, he says, because there is a curious lack of fill-up stations on Highway 24 south of Highway 403. He expects to capture a lot of traffic on Highway 24 heading to Port Dover, Turkey Point and Long Point during the summer season.
As for the restaurant, Dossa’s challenge is to find an expert in Indian cuisine to serve as a partner. When that happens, he expects the restaurant to employ about 10 people.
The Baldock Funeral Home, which was established in 1897, was one of the longest-serving businesses in Norfolk County when it abruptly closed in January of last year. The Bereavement Authority of Ontario suspended the home’s licence due to issues related to the management of funds for pre-paid funerals and cremations. Soon after, the property went on the market.
“It’s been a long process,” said David Puddy, Dossa’s agent. “The offer was received a long time ago, but it’s gone through a long due diligence. There are many options for this property, and it may be a year or two before anything happens.”
The list price was $1.4 million. Dossa would not say how much he ultimately paid. However, he did point out that – in his estimation – the appraisal was about 30 per cent higher than the market would bear.
The re-purposing of key, dormant properties is key to the revitalization of any community that has seen better times.
Dossa’s purchase on Norfolk Street North follows on the heels of confirmation last week that VG Meats south of Renton has purchased the former Beer Store on Water Street in Simcoe for $250,000. Plans there eventually are to open a retail storefront similar to the VG outlet on Woodhouse Road 6 west of Cockshutt Road.