It’s the end of an era for comic book fans in Halifax.
Strange Adventures, a popular destination for superheroes, monsters and art, is leaving its location on Sackville Street at some point this year.
The owner, Calum Johnston, said the building they currently occupy is going through serious renovations, which has forced them to look for a new home.
“We are likely to have to move in eight to 12 months,” Johnston said. “The new owners (of the building) hope to redevelop the building which will entail a demolition of most of it, hopefully keeping the facade.”
Strange Adventures has been inside the Sackville Street building for 18 years. The cosy, cavernous space is filled with figurines and models from science fiction, fantasy, and of course, thousands of comic books and graphic novels.
Strange Adventures has two other store locations, one in Dartmouth, and the other in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Johnston says he’d like to relocate in Halifax’s downtown, if he can.
“I prefer the downtown area as I think it's the heart and soul of any city,” he said. “But I’m also looking elsewhere due to costs and availability.”
He said his new location would need to meet certain criteria including a dry space, ground floor retail, some windows for displays, close to some parking and bus routes.
“Affordable rent in a location that is stable for decades is what I am looking for,” he said.
Paul Mackinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said he thinks they’ll be able to find a place in the downtown, despite increasing rents.
“Right now in downtown, there are rents that are all over the place,” MacKinnon said. “It really depends on the location of the property, how old it is, the level of maintenance and a whole bunch of factors.”
The building on Sackville Street where the Halifax Strange Adventures is currently located is across from the Nova Centre, which is currently under construction. Some have speculated that this development has caused a rise in rents in the surrounding area.
“For a long time the big complaint about downtown was that nothing was being fixed up and rents were too low and we didn’t have the right kind of retail to become more upscale,” MacKinnon said. “We’d hate to see some of the signature businesses not be able to relocate in the downtown core, but with the nature of retail, there will be changes. Especially with all of the development taking place.”
Strange Adventures owner, Calum Johnston, sad to leave Sackville Street location:
“It's where I met so many wonderful folks. Played host to dozens of terrific cartoonists over the years; I found out I would become a father while at work; saw many new friendships start with conversations about favourite books or movies,” he said. “A lot of life and lives have come through this place over the years.”