N.B. Power has sold its two downtown Fredericton buildings, one of them a heritage property, for $39 million, hoping to pay off some debt and lower operating costs.
The utility, which announced this week it is facing a revenue loss of over $32 million, has sold its properties at 527 King St. and 515 King St. to Toronto-based firm Forum Asset Management.
The sale will see N.B. Power move all of its offices to 515 King St., the company's current headquarters near Carleton Street, where it will now lease space.
"The sale will allow us to make progress towards paying down debt, reducing operating expenses and improving energy efficiency in the building," Dominique Couture, an N.B. Power spokesperson, said in an emailed statement.
Engineer John Feeney designed the headquarters for the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission. The building now has heritage value, according to the province. (Edwin Hunter/CBC News)
The 515 King St. property will undergo renovations to improve its energy efficiency.
"Consolidating NB Power's office space into one building and bringing in a national building operator signals a transformational approach to running our business and demonstrates our strategic plan in action, using partnerships to improve our operational performance," Couture said.
She said a public request for proposals was issued last year by a national real estate brokerage, which resulted in several bids from across the country.
N.B. Power's current headquarters at 515 King St. will no longer be occupied by the utility, which will move its operations to the 1949 building on a lease basis. (Edwin Hunter/CBC News)
The building at 527 King was completed in 1949. Designed by engineer John Feeney, the building is considered to have heritage value because of the skill required to build it at that time, according to the Parks Canada Historic Places website.
Feeney's career began in 1910, when he became city engineer with the City of Fredericton. He later worked for the Dominion Engineering Department, until he took a job with the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission.
At the time, the utility's headquarters were in Saint John, and Feeney was given the job of designing a new headquarters in Fredericton, which turned out to be the 527 King St. building.
The four-storey brick and stone building reflects "a fusion of Modern Classical and Art Moderne elements," according to HistoricPlaces.com.
The four-storey building at 527 King reflects 'a fusion of Modern Classical and Art Moderne elements,' according to HistoricPlaces.com. (Edwin Hunter/CBC News)
The defining elements of those architectural styles include the building's balanced front facade and projecting frontispiece, central windows separated by fluted pilasters, the curved walls of the entrance and simple cornice over the first storey, the website says.
The utility's name in those days, New Brunswick Electric Power Commission, is etched across the top of the building.
Fredericton firm MacPherson and Myles built the structure based on Feeney's design. He became the utility's chief engineer in 1951.
The building was recognized as a historic building by the province in 2009.