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Westminster Club sells for 1.3 million

The venerable Westminster Club property has been sold to a non-profit organization with its roots from the parents of residents of New Westminster's infamous Woodlands institution.

However, the selling price of $1,315,000 in the court-ordered sale wasn't quite what the 124-year old club had hoped for.

With membership dwindling down to its current 10 members and debts increasing, the club's 7,400 square feet at the top of the seven-storey Westminster Building on Columbia Street at Begbie Street, were put on sale in May 2012 for $1.975 million.

Although the holder of the club's first mortgage had found a buyer, the club believed the offer wasn't high enough. A Vancouver court ordered a sealed-bid process with a deadline of Monday.

"No other bidders came forward. We all had thought there would be another bidder because it was a very low price. That's the way the market goes, it's difficult to deal with so that's where we're at," said club president Allen Domaas. "It was disappointing for everybody involved … It's certainly not what we hoped for, but it's over.

"I'm sure the buyers are very happy, they got an exceptional piece of property at a very good price."

The buyer is the Community Living Society, currently based in Burnaby. It was founded in the late 1970s by the Woodlands Parents Group to help children with disabilities transition back into their communities.

The Westminster Club was founded as a private gentleman's club in 1889 and has been in the Westminster Building since it was built in 1912, when it was billed as the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago. The club bought the building in 1983 and then turned it into strata ownership while retaining the top floor with its panoramic views of Downtown and the Fraser River.

Domaas said after the first lender gets its money, next to be paid will be the overdue strata fees and city taxes. There won't, however, be enough left over to pay any of the three members that loaned their own money to the club.

"It's unfortunate. The directors have all worked hard to pull this together. Everyone's just tired," said Domaas, who added possession date for the property is Jan. 9.

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