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Businessman purchases legion building

The Royal Canadian Legion building in Penticton has been purchased by a local businessman.

John Vassilaki said this week that he and his brother and three sons have bought the building on Martin Street in principle.

"We were informed it was for sale, and we put the offer in a week ago," said Vassilaki. "We went back and forth until we agreed to a price, and there is still some technical stuff to work out."

The current arrangement is Vassilaki and Sons will let them lease it back, so the legion has a home.

Murray Grandy, the president of Legion Branch No. 40, said the building has been up for sale for a month and a half, and he was pleased they have made an offer.

"It was either that or the doors would have closed," he said.

The legion has struggled financially for several years.

In 2013, Grandy claimed business had slowed, with less money coming in from the bar, kitchen and hall rentals, and a decline in membership. That situation led to the possibility of the place where veterans have gathered for decades being sold.

Grandy said at this point all of the paperwork needs to be approved by Vassilaki. The sale then has to be approved by the BC Yukon Command and all of the legion's members in good standing.

"Because there is a lease back option, we have to ensure everyone is on board with this," Grandy said.

According to Vassilaki, this isn't the first time they have purchased a legion building. They bought the original one on Main Street in the 1970s. It went on to serve as a nightclub for several years.

Most recently that space was the Opal Nite Club. It is currently closed.

The length of time on the lease has not been fully determined, but the legion will be given reasonable rates to succeed at their endeavours, Vassilaki said.

He and other members of the company own property bordering on the legion property and may want to do something with all of it down the road.

"It would mostly be residential, with a little commercial," he said.






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