Nova Scotia

Former St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Lawrencetown for sale

The former St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Lawrencetown, a registered municipal heritage property built in the 1840s, is up for sale for $22,000.

Former St. Andrew's Anglican Church, a registered municipal heritage site, is up for sale

The former St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Lawrencetown, N.S., is for sale for $22,000. (Courtesy Kirk Richards)

It would make a nice little seasonal home, the real estate agent tells a caller — and with pews included, there will be plenty of place for company to sit.

The former St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Lawrencetown, a registered municipal heritage property built in the 1840s, is up for sale for $22,000.

It was deconsecrated in 2008 and is now owned by Michael Bailey, a wildlife conservationist from Victoria, B.C.

The environmentalist says he learned about the church through friends, and bought it about a year and a half ago.

St. Andrew's Anglican Church has a new roof, but it doesn't have water or sewer service. (Courtesy Kirk Richards)

He's put some money into it and paid for a new roof. However, he says he now realizes he doesn't have the capacity to put it to a new use, and is now selling in the hopes that someone else does.

"We think these buildings should be protected for the future," Bailey said in a phone interview. "They make excellent coffee shops they're wonderful community gathering centres. Old churches carry a history that's unique in Canada."

Annapolis Valley realtor Kirk Richards says he’s been fielding 10 to 15 inquiries a week from across Canada and even the United States.

The church was deconsecrated in 2008 and then sold. The current owner has put the building on the market again. Some prospective buyers have pondered opening a cafe or yoga studio.

Others have even mused about tearing the whole down and selling the wood and fixtures off piece by piece.

"The price point is what has made this property such a big inquiry for a lot of people," Richards says. "Where else can you get a piece of land and a building for $22,000."

The church was built in the 1840s. Much of it, including the windows, is original. (Courtesy Kirk Richards)

So far, however, no one has decided to buy.

The spot does need some work. The roof was replaced in 2012, but prior leaking has left damage. While there’s a furnace, there's no insulation, running running water or sewer, and the power was disconnected.

"In my opinion, it would be best suited to a seasonal residence or a commercial space that would be operational seasonally," Richards says.

"Not something that's going to be year-round. To heat a building of that age is going to be difficult, no matter how much money you sink into the property."

It is one of a slew of churches that have come on the market in Nova Scotia over the years.

In many cases, dwindling congregations and expensive upkeep costs have led to closure and sale.

A number of Anglican churches have been sold, including St. Matthew's, which in 2011 was loaded onto a barge and ferried along the Minas Basin to its new home at Avondale Sky Winery.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish is shuttering more than a dozen, while the United Church has amalgamated congregations in the Annapolis Valley and sold some churches.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.