Lambton County has agreed to consider extending its lease at Sarnia’s Bayside Mall.
Bayside has been in receivership since Dec. 2012 and was put up for sale a couple of months later. But a complicated lease that sees the City of Sarnia own the land the building stands on and the deteriorating condition of the parking garage has made it difficult to find a buyer.
Lambton County is the major tenant in the mall, using a large part of the space for offices which house everything from Ontario Works to Court Services.
Lambton County Warden Todd Case says the current lease lasts until 2016, however the receiver is asking the county to consider extending it to provide any potential buyers with the surety they won’t be buying a building that will be empty in a little over a year.
“The receiver wishes to put the property back on the market for sale but he won’t do it until he understands there is an agreement with the county,” says John Innes, the county’s general manager of finance. “We’re prepared to consider that.”
Innes says county officials are talking with the receiver now, but won’t say how long of a lease it might consider.
County councilors approved a bylaw at the last county council meeting which would allow the clerk of the county and the warden to sign an agreement if necessary.
Innes says right now, there isn’t a buyer for Bayside on the horizon.