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VIDEO: Smart Shop Place in Sydney back on the selling block

The Smart Shop Place building has been put up for sale by its current owners, Parker Rudderham and his real estate business partner Sheldon Nathanson. The building is considered a prime location for a commercial building. GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRETON POST
The Smart Shop Place building has been put up for sale by its current owners, Parker Rudderham and his real estate business partner Sheldon Nathanson. The building is considered a prime location for a commercial building. GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRETON POST
SYDNEY, N.S. —

A local businessman is hoping someone else can animate his hopes and aspirations for the Smart Shop Place Building on Sydney’s Charlotte Street.

It was back in 2013 when Parker Rudderham purchased the building that had been the home of retail and commerce since 1904 with aspirations of returning it to its former glory or at least some semblance of it.

However, he reluctantly put the building on the market earlier this year.

Parker Rudderham
Parker Rudderham

“We are throwing a sign on it. We never came up with anything concrete to do with it,” Rudderham said. “There were a number of people who approached me with ideas but they never came to fruition so we put a sign on it for the winter to see what happens.”

A restaurant and converting portions of the building to office space were among the ideas presented to him.

However, his hopes for the space are more along the lines of allowing room for a not-for-profit agency on a lower level, artisans or a boutique on the third floor and places of business in the middle that could have even included a nice spot for tea.

As the owner of several business ventures, including Pharmacy Wholesale Services, though, he just got too busy to focus on moving his ideas forward for this one.

Michelle Wilson, executive director of the Sydney Downtown Development Association, said a for sale sign on the building might end up being a good thing for the downtown area.

“I know there has been a lot of interest in it. I think it is just a matter of time before the right person buys it and does something really interesting with it,” she said.

“We have a lot of brilliant people locally, I think, who would make it into a really interesting space, so I’m hoping that one of our brilliant, local, maybe a young person, will make something really cool of it.”

Although it wasn’t purchased by a local buyer, another downtown building, Finishing Touch Decorating, was recently snapped up and could offer a hint at the length of time Smart Shop Place might be on the market. 

The former Finishing Touch Decorating building on Charlotte Street, Sydney, was purchased last year, just days after it went on the market and is now home to two new businesses. Another Charlotte Street building, Smart Shop Place, is now on the market.
The former Finishing Touch Decorating building on Charlotte Street, Sydney, was purchased last year, just days after it went on the market and is now home to two new businesses. Another Charlotte Street building, Smart Shop Place, is now on the market.

That building was purchased last year just two days after it went on the market and is quickly being converted into several businesses, including ‘Pleasures and Treasures,’ an adult boutique chain and Shooze Warehouse, which will open in the near future.

“I think the speed of the sale of that building speaks volumes to where we are headed with the downtown core. I think they barely had it listed and they had it sold. I think that is telling of our future, that’s the way I like to see it anyway.”


The Smart Shop Place space is larger than the one that once housed Finishing Touch, but Wilson said the downtown association is available to support anyone looking to take on that endeavour.

“We always have people contacting the office who are interested in space and putting up a business,” she said. “We also have been working really well with the Cape Breton Partnership and their CBRM economic division, connecting people and businesses and spaces.”

Michelle Wilson
Michelle Wilson

Where downtowns seem to be headed are with local people starting small businesses that are unique to Sydney and Cape Breton, she said, while referencing research on the issue, including that of Roger Brooks, an international tourism expert brought to town to study the creation of a vibrant downtown Sydney.

Rudderham, who owns the building with Cape Breton lawyer Sheldon Nathanson, said recent upgrades to Smart Shop Place have included renovations and heating improvements.

“The building is completely gutted,” he said. “We have a blank slate there and it is not going to take a whole lot to bring it up to someone’s needs.”

He hopes someone with an interesting idea comes forward.

“It’s not going to be a case where we just do something to get rid of the building. It’s going to have to add something to the downtown.”


ON THE MARKET
Smart Shop Place Sale

  • Realtor.ca lists a price of $219,000
  • 314 Charlotte St., Sydney

Description:

  • Prime location for a commercial building in downtown Sydney
  • Building offers four levels with over 16,000 square feet in total
  • Main level and second level offer just over 6,000 square feet each
  • Top floor has 1,312 square feet
  • Walkout lower level facing Prince Street offers another 3,000 square-foot unit. 
  • Selling history lists a price of $325,000 when the building was sold in May 31, 2013

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