News

‘Sold’ sign posted at landmark property

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

The former executive of the Delhi Belgian Hall recently found a buyer for the landmark property on James Street. A “Sold” sign has gone up and the property is in transition toward a new owner. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

The former executive of the Delhi Belgian Hall recently found a buyer for the landmark property on James Street. A “Sold” sign has gone up and the property is in transition toward a new owner. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

DELHI - 

The Belgian Club has a new owner, but the former executive is being tight-lipped about the details.

A “sold” sign went up on the property in recent days. This brings to a close a sales process that began nearly a year ago.

Marc Vandenbussche of Delhi was president of the Belgian Club last year when the decision was made to sell the landmark property on James Street across from Delhi District Secondary School.

Thursday, Vandenbussche said the property has been sold to “a well-established development company,” adding “the building will stand.”

The next step, Vandenbussche said, is to notify shareholders of the sale. That will likely be done by mail Vandenbussche said, noting that all of the hall’s infrastructure for public meetings – tables, chairs and the like – was dispersed in an on-line auction earlier this year.

Former executive member Wayne Beselaere of Delhi confirmed Thursday that a sale has gone through. Beselaere said the buyer is an Ontario numbered company. The sale hasn’t formally closed as there is a fair amount of paperwork left to process.

The club was established in 1948 as a gathering place for Belgians who immigrated to this part of Ontario in large numbers beginning in the 1920s.

The building features more than 30,000 square feet over two floors. There is a large banquet area for receptions and conferences and licensed lounges in the lower level. The entire property covers 1.8 acres.

The Belgian Hall was a popular venue for rock bands in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Acts passing through included Chubby Checker and Rush among many others.

The initial asking price for the property was $899,000. The real estate firm CBRE of London later advertised the property at a reduced price of $649,000. Vandenbussche would not disclose the final sales price.

When the decision was made to sell, reasons cited included skyrocketing electricity prices and shareholders who neglected to pay their annual membership fees on time.

At the end of 2016, the Belgian Hall posted a sign on James Street saying its total hydro bill for the year was $49,559.

The sign added “You Wynne, we lose” in reference to the Ontario premier and her enthusiastic support for green energy policies that have put upward pressure on prices.

The Belgian Hall executive has collected money from the sale of assets and now has a lump sum to look forward to now that the property itself has sold. The property has continued to incur expenses during the sales process but -- when all is said and done -- Vandenbussche says there will be no deficit or outstanding liabilities.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com