After years of the property being in the hands of a local developer, Kingston’s Marine Museum will once again reopen on Ontario Street.
Earlier this year, developer Jay Patry put the former museum’s property up for sale, three years after buying the historic building on the shore of Lake Ontario with the intent to replace it with a 20-storey residential tower.
On Monday, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston announced they had bought the property at 55 Ontario St. back thanks to a donation from a benefactor, who they would not name.
Chris West would not divulge how much was donated, but he did say that when re-opened, the museum will be bigger and better than before.
“While the mission of the Marine Museum will remain unchanged, the new Marine Museum will have a much-expanded role relative to its predecessor, one that will provide a far greater benefit to the Kingston community and its visitors,” said West.
Marine Museum staff are looking to transform the building into a “cultural and tourism hub” that highlight’s Kingston’s “unique heritage, Great Lakes history and priceless waterfront.”
As for why he sold the property back to the Museum, Patry said some in the city did not share his vision for a waterfront high-rise.
The land itself is considered a brownfield and would have cost Patry millions of dollars to remediate. After years of owning it without doing much work on it, the developer said he believed it would be best that the Museum move back into the historic building.
“We felt that a prudent path to advance was to give back to the city and the Museum and see the property restored as an important tourism hub on Kingston’s waterfront and the wider community.”
Patry originally bought the property for over $3 million, but wouldn’t disclose how much he charged for the lot when selling it back to the museum.
The Marine Museum is a not-for-profit and operates due to investments from The CSL Group, Community Foundation of Greater Kingston, the city of Kingston and Homestead.
More information to come.