Windsor Arena could become farmers market

Coun. Alan Halberstadt says a developer wants to convert the historic Windsor Arena into a farmers market.

The old Windsor Arena — known as the Barn — may soon become a market.

Coun. Alan Halberstadt told CBC News a developer has interest in converting the historic Windsor Arena into a farmers market.

"I have information that somebody is looking at it to convert into a farmers market. That information hasn’t completely unfolded yet," Halberstadt said. "The concept would be that some developer, who has a vision of a farmers market, would take over the building."

Mayor Eddie Francis neither confirmed nor denied Halberstadt's claim that a farmers market is likely coming to Windsor Arena.

"There is a lot of speculation and a lot of rumours out there," Francis said.

The University of Windsor is scheduled to take over the current home of the downtown famers market, which is located at the former Greyhound station.

There is a committee looking at relocating the farmers market downtown, according to Halberstadt. 

"There have been a number of things that have been talked about," Francis said

Halberstadt said he was unsure whether the building would be sold or leased to the developer who plans to create the market. But he's sure of one thing; the arena will no longer be owned by the city.

"Certainly the mayor has indicated pretty definitively that it would be removed from the cost to the city," Halberstadt said.

The city has plans to close Water World, the Adie Knox Pool and Windsor Arena.

Halberstadt said it costs the city approximately $230,000 to operate Windsor Arena.

The city offered Windsor Arena to the University of Windsor because the facility is currently home to the Windsor Lancers hockey program. But the school declined to purchase the building.

"Obviously Windsor Arena has value to the community," Francis said. "However we decide to repurpose the facility should be some recognition of the value of the building architecturally and historically."

With files from Allison Johnson