Old Windsor jail is up for sale — again

The former Windsor jail on Brock Street is once again up for sale.

The jail was sold at auction to the current owners in 2019 for $150,000. They are now asking $1.4 million for it.

Real estate agent Silky Khullar of Re/Max Preferred Realty Ltd. said the owners have not done anything with the property because of restrictions imposed by the Sandwich Heritage Conservation District, which covers Sandwich Towne.

The building dates back to 1925. It closed in 2014 with the opening of the South West Detention Centre.

Residents would like to see something done with the property, which has fallen victim to vandalism over the years.

“I’ve been here for almost 20 years, living close to the jail to watch it degrade as time went by. And usually if you do something with properties initially, you don’t get the criminal activity in there,” said resident Marcel Larsh.

Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante would like to see an active use for the property.

“Hopefully the successful proponent, whoever does purchase this property, does something for the jail to activate it again and make it a good community use,” said Costante.

“You know we are in need of parking, housing, any commercial space and anything that could add to the community,” said Sandwich Towne BIA chairperson Sonia Klinger.

The Windsor Jail property is up for sale for $1.4 million. (Dale Molnar/CBC News)

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky is critical of how the Ford government handled the sale of the property.

“The old Windsor Jail, registry office, and parking lot would have been a perfect opportunity to preserve a historic heritage site as a community-orientated space that could have become affordable housing, a community centre or a museum — as just a few examples,” said Gretzky in an email to CBC News.

“In 2018 I joined community members and residents of Sandwich Town and called on the provincial Conservative government to protect and preserve this site. Instead, Ford’s Conservative government sold it for pennies in 2019 without any community input — and it seems like they didn’t put any guardrails in place to ensure that it was redeveloped with the community in mind.”

Costante says the buildings are important to the communit,y and so is the parking lot next to MacKenzie Hall, which is part of the property.

“I would love to see the city control the parking lot so that it be city-owned,” said Costante.

A jail cell in the old Windsor jail in this picture from 2018.
A jail cell in the old Windsor jail in shown in a picture from 2018. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The city is currently leasing the parking lot from the owner but the city is keeping the price tag confidential. It’s not clear whether the city could end up owning it or not.

“The parking lot is not part of the sale,” said Khullar, who is trying to confirm whether her clients intend to keep the parking lot and sever it, or if they don’t own it anymore.

Khullar said her clients are remaining anonymous and will not be making any statements.

The current lease on the parking lot expires next May.

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