Cooke Aquaculture plans to take its time renovating the historic building that once housed Shaarei Zedek synagogue in Saint John, according to Nell Halse, the company’s vice-president of communications.
“The building, once it’s restored, will be high-end offices,” Halse said. “It will be done well.”
The former synagogue was originally built in 1871 as a Calvinist church but was bought by the city’s Jewish community in 1919.
The two-storey, Neo-Gothic brick structure, which sits on the corner of Wellington Row and Carleton Street, was decommissioned as a house of worship in November 2008 and taken over by the city.
In September, city council gave up trying to find a buyer to save the 146-year-old building and declared it surplus, which meant it could be torn down.
“This is a pretty big purchase for us,” Halse said. “We took a number of years to renovate the building on Wellington Row. We expect it will take a little while to finalize the plans, see the restoration complete and have people working in the building.”
Changes north of Union Street
In 2016, the global seafood giant — which employs over 3,000 employees worldwide at Kelly Cove Salmon, True North Salmon, GMG Fish Services Ltd., Shoreland Transport, and Charlotte Feeds & Northeast Nutrition — invested approximately $750,000 in its new global headquarters at 40 Wellington Row while keeping its headquarters in Charlotte County.
“We totally gutted that building and it took a number of years,” said Halse, “but it’s beautiful office space today.”
The company hasn’t yet made public a timeline or expected costs for the synagogue renovations.
“We are fortunate to have good people in the company who did a fabulous job with the building we’re in now on…