The historic Castle Manor in Moncton has a new owner.
"I've dreamt of owning it since I was a teenager. And now I'm in a position to make it real," said local homebuilder Mathieu Fournier, who bought the castle and adjacent green space last week.
Fournier isn't revealing what his plans are for the heritage building, but a Toronto-based developer says she’s already trying to raise the money to buy it from him.
Meanwhile, Fournier said he’s investing in some high-tech security to keep vandals out of the building, located at the corner of Archibald Street and Mountain Road.
"It's pretty disgusting what some individuals have done," he said, noting several people have been arrested in connection with damage to the inside and outside of the building in the past few weeks.
"Everything from graffiti, to emptying fire extinguishers, to drinking. We found drug paraphernalia inside.
"Of course breaking of glass, windows, doors, furniture, right up to what has really got me scared - lighting of fireworks, inside the building. Quite a few of them, to tell you the truth.
"And the last thing we want to see is this thing go up in flames."
Castle Manor is a 104-year-old Gothic Revival castle.
It's been an orphanage, a Catholic school and a seniors home, but has sat vacant for more than a year.
$5M needed for boutique hotel vision
Sarosh Anwar, a real estate investor from Toronto, says she tried to make a bid to turn the castle into a boutique hotel, but Fournier beat her to the draw.
Anwar says she still wants the building and has a verbal agreement to buy it from Fournier if she can raise $5 million within a week from local investors for her vision.
"The numbers absolutely make sense. I wouldn't be doing it if they didn't," said Anwar, who bought a one-way ticket to Moncton.
"And, at the same time, this is going to bring so much economy to Moncton as well, as a destination place."
'It really captured my imagination when I saw it, as it does, I'm sure, with everyone that sees it and lives around here.' —Sarosh Anwar, Toronto developer
The Manor was originally listed at $985,000.
"It's very undervalued and underused" said Anwar. "I think it could be a tremendous boutique hotel and what I'm really interested in is retaining the property as a defacto public asset," she said.
"This is really something very special. It really captured my imagination when I saw it, as it does, I'm sure, with everyone that sees it and lives around here."
Fournier declined to comment on a possible deal with Anwar.
But asked if he is open to selling, he said: "That's like asking a guy that owns a Porsche if he's willing to sell it. He might love it. Everything has a price tag.
"I didn't buy it to sell it, I didn't buy it to flip it. There are interested parties."