The University of the Fraser Valley has bought the former home of Finnegan’s Pub and Phoenix Ballroom.
The university spent just under $10 million to buy the building and property, which is located on King Road, just to the west of Abbotsford Centre. The deal was completed at the start of August.
Craig Toews, UFV’s vice-president external, said the purchase price was determined following an independent assessment commissioned by the university.
Finnegan’s and Phoenix closed earlier this year, with the businesses’ owners – the Esposito family – writing on their Facebook page that an array of challenges had confronted them since opening in 2009 near the Abbotsford Centre and UFV. An earlier Finnegan’s location that began operation in 1987 had been destroyed by fire.
Toews said the university doesn’t plan to operate a restaurant. Instead, with major renovations planned for two UFV buildings, the newly purchased site will be repurposed in the short-term for offices and teaching space.
“That’s the most immediate, urgent need,” he said.
Construction is expected to start in the fall, with a completion date eyed for the following spring.
The long-term plans for the site are still to be determined, Toews said. But the building, and its location, provides plenty of options.
“It’s a very strategic buy for the university’s point of view,” he said.
The city’s new U-District plan and UFV’s campus master plan envision a blurring of the interface between the university and city-administered lands. That will see mixed-use buildings created on the periphery of the university, and the Finnegan’s building, with its frontage along King Road, could play a role in that.
Paul Esposito Jr. said his family was pleased that the university will be taking over the building.
“We’re very excited to see how the property we’ve put so much blood, sweat and tears into will continue to benefit the community, both in the long-term and the short-term,” he said.