The site of the former Palace Theatre at the corner of Fifth Street and England Avenue has now been sold and is set for redevelopment. Black Press file photo

Former Palace Theatre lot sold and set for redevelopment in downtown Courtenay

“It’s really positive growth for the Comox Valley and a good sign of economic investment.”

After sitting empty for years at the corner of 5th Street and England Avenue in downtown Courtenay, the site of the former Palace (E.W.) Theatre has been sold and is set for redevelopment.

Listing Realtors Shea Wilson and Nicole Allen of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific confirmed the sale this week of 397 5th St., and said it was a property they have been working on selling for a handful of months.

“It’s great; we’ve really gotten some positive feedback from business owners on Fifth Street. They are happy and relieved, and it’s so nice to have development set to go up on the corner,” explained Wilson.

“It’s really positive growth for the Comox Valley and a good sign of economic investment.”

Managing broker Scott Reed of Realty Executives said his clients Palace Place Ltd. Partnership purchased the property and are looking at creating a four-storey, mixed commercial/residential building with a mix of short-term rentals on the middle floor, and long-term rentals on the top floors.

Reed confirmed they will be a mix of one and two-bedroom units, with 14 units per floor.

He added the developers are hoping to break ground in early 2020.

Jenny Deters, president of the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, said downtown businesses are really excited and are looking forward to seeing new development on the lot.

“It’s something we’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s great to see the property sold and we always want to encourage more residential units within the downtown core.”

The theatre, which was originally known as the E.W. Bickle Theatre, opened in November 1940. During the summer of 2007, a fire ripped through the building and the theatre was temporarily closed.

The damage was deemed extensive, and eventually, the building was demolished in April 2008.

According to a title search, the registered owner prior to the sale was First Nations Enterprises Inc. of Vancouver.

In 2013, the owner, who lived in Hong Kong at the time, declined a proposal from Courtenay council to upgrade and/or provide access to the property, as he intended to sell the property.

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