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St. Anthony School transformed into residential suites

Updated: Mar 28

Interior photo of a loft unit.

For those who stepped across the threshold at 247 Brock Street in Amherstburg this past weekend, it might have seemed like a step back in time.

However, once inside, it was a transformation that left many who visited totally impressed.

The Lofts at St. Anthony are officially for sale, and for those who bought the old school and for those who did the work, it has been over three years of commitment and a chance to repurpose a local historic landmark.

“When Terry (Jones) bought it, we thought why are you buying the House of Shalom. I used to come here for retreats,” said Mackie Jones, of Jones Realty.

Built in 1911, with an addition put on in 1926, it was a school until Father John Ware and the non-denominational House of Shalom took over in 1974 and stayed there until 2020.

With the help of the Reliable Realtors Team from ReMax, 15 units ranging in sale price from $598,888 to $1.6 million are being offered. The luxury condos are one bedroom, two bedroom and two bedrooms with a den. Square footage is from 1,385 to 2,943 and all come with at least one balcony or patio.

“It reminds me of a Detroit-style loft. There is not a lot of opportunity for a unique property like this,” said Mackie.

In her book Heritage Buildings of Amherstburg, local historian and author Meg Reiner states about St. Anthony’s – ‘recently designated as a heritage property, a remodeling project is underway to adapt the historic building for residential use.’

Reiner says that it was designed by Peter Dedrichs, a Detroit architect and built by contractors Oliver and Charles McLean. Joseph B. Wilson, a stone mason, was in charge of building operations.

“We wanted to preserve it, it’s historic. It’s Amherstburg and everyone knows the House of Shalom,” said Lisa Jones, of Jones Realty.

She provided the River Town Times with an inclusive tour that included exposed brick walls, wooden beams and a towering entrance foyer.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in St. Anthony’s is that it was a three-floor structure with an attic on top. The Jones family along with contractor Tony Rosati decided to convert the attic into three huge lofts including the penthouse unit, which is suitably called, St. Anthony.

It is the biggest and best in the old school covering nearly 3,000 square feet, an open concept with a bar as a centre focus, sloping ceilings and a magnificent view of neighbouring St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.

“We added the fourth floor and it was definitely challenging,” said Tony Rosati.

He said that there were a few challenges along the way in restoring St. Anthony including working within the guidelines of the historic designation.

“It took a little longer than we thought. There is a lot of detail.”

The Lofts at St. Anthony have names tied to Amherstburg’s military heritage like Colonel, Major, Lieutenant and Private. Ottawa, Huron and Essex are some of the other suite names.

According to Lisa Jones, St. Anthony is the first of two phases of the residential project. The next one will be a neighbour of the old school and no doubt have a fantastic view of its own.

St. Anthony School transformed into residential suites

By Fred Groves

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