Our Lady of the Rosary Church to become art centre

Our Lady of the Rosary Church is to become a new art, cultural and exhibition centre.

Church sold to Larry Horwitz for $1

Our Lady of the Rosary Church is to become a new art, cultural and exhibition centre. (Doors Open Windsor)

Our Lady of the Rosary Church is to become a new art, cultural and exhibition centre.

The Diocese of London sold the building to Horwitz Holdings for $1. Horwitz Holdings belongs to real estate developer and president of the Downtown Windsor Business Association president Larry Horwitz.

Founded in 1881, construction of the existing Our Lady of the Rosary church building was completed in 1908.

The Romanesque-style brick and stone building could hold about 1,000 people. Changing demographics in the latter half of the century, restoration costs and the diocese’s process of parish reorganization led to the closure of the church in 2007.

In 2008, the City of Windsor approved giving the building historical designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. The diocese announced it would try to find a suitable and proper use for the building and publicly asked for proposals.

The city previously declined to buy the building.

The new art, cultural and exhibition centre could include artistic production spaces, artist working and living spaces and workshops and banquet facilities.

The diocese said Horwitz's proposal was chosen "since he has extensive experience in acquiring, restoring and re-purposing historic buildings in the Windsor area."

If all goes according to plan, ownership of the church will transfer by the end of May 2014.

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