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10 Carden to buy 42 Carden

Not-for-profit 10 Carden set to purchase Acker's Furniture building at 42 Carden.

Not-for-profit organization 10 Carden Street has amassed about $365,000 towards an initial $400,000 community bond offering to purchase and renovate 42 Carden, the long-time location of Acker’s Furniture on Carden Street.

A further bond offering is being extended to individuals and organizations.

10 Carden is a community hub that offers affordable and accessible shared space to various organizations.

Co-founder Julia Grady said the actual 10 Carden location had accessibility restrictions, and the 42 Carden will address those issues, as well as expand the facility. Grady is the expansion project lead.

“Our big thing is developing accessible space – physical accessibility, ensuring compliance and inclusiveness,” Grady said. “We needed to address that, and our current space doesn’t lend itself that well to many accessibility upgrades.”  

She said the closing date of the purchase is April 15, and renovations are expected to be completed by the end of this year. The overall purchase and renovation, Grady said, is estimated to be about $2.5 million.

Had another retail establishment bought and moved into the building, renovation costs would have been considerably lower, she said. But once 10 Carden moves in and carries out work it triggers city change-of-use bylaws. The building then has to be upgraded to comply with current Ontario building code compliance. And that is a costly proposition.  

Like the current location, the new one is directly across from Guelph City Hall. It will house what is being described by 10 Carden as a not-for-profit community event space and collaborative co-working centre.

The plan is to put the new location under the name “10C”, the widely used nickname for 10 Carden. Using 10C will ensure name recognition, and will brand the space as a multi-purpose community facility. The “C” stands for collaboration among community groups.

“The overall essence of 10 Carden won’t change at all,” Grady said.

According to a report that goes before the city’s public services committee next week, the facility will bring existing member groups together with several new tenants, including the Guelph Arts Council, the Guelph Neighbhourhood Support Coalition, Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership, Wellington Water Watchers, and both University of Guelph Student Life, and U of G’s Community Engaged Scholarship Institute.

The report on the purchase and plan comes to the committee next Thursday, March 3. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.

The community bond offering appears to be a leading strategy in 10 Carden’s purchase and rejuvenation of the property. There are two bond categories – E Bond, which has a $5,000 minimum, and an F Bond for foundations, institutions and organizations, with a minimum investment of $50,000. Both categories offer a three per cent interest rate, with a five-year maturity term. Interest is paid semi-annually, with a principal paid upon maturity.

The project is also funded by a mortgage, various capital grants, donations, services in kind, and private sector investment.

Acker’s has been been a family-run business for about 80 years. The 42 Carden location is an unusual building in that it fronts both Carden Street and Macdonell Street. Grady said that feature made it an ideal location for 10C.

“It has two faces, and it is right at the beginning of downtown,” she said.

 Grady said much of the visual integrity of the exterior of 42 Carden will be preserved. The glass blocks on the upper floors will be removed to allow more light in. 

Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association, sees the move as a positive for the entire downtown.

"I am in favour of anything that brings more people into the downtown," Williams said in an email. "Acker's was a great store for decades and like any long-time retailer we are sad to see them go. But this is a project that's going to fill the building with life, with lots of people working and attracting people to the building. And that's good for the shops and restaurants all over downtown."