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The Sydney Street Courthouse was one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire of 1877.

The historic Sydney Street Courthouse in Saint John is getting a real estate valuation as the province prepares to list the property for sale.

The building has been vacant since last winter when the provincial court building in Peel Plaza opened.

Saint John real estate agent Bob McVicar isn't certain a buyer can easily be found.

"Its commercial value is limited," said McVicar.

He notes the building was purpose-built to be a courthouse and renovations would be costly.

"I suppose if you had a law firm or an accounting firm or an architectural firm and you had 10 or 15 or 20 people it might be a fairly easy conversion," McVicar said.

City manager Pat Woods told councillors this week he's checking on the designation on a couple of potential locations for a new city hall.

While he didn't name the properties, the courthouse has been suggested in the past.

Former councillor Christopher Titus championed the courthouse as a potential city council chamber several years ago.

He still believes it would be a good idea.

"There has to be a use for it," said Titus. "Most municipalities, I think, they own their city hall and it's really an iconic building."

But Titus concedes the courthouse — which was built between 1824 and 1829 —  would require a lot of work.

He said there are certainly less expensive options for the city.