Brock finalizes deal to sell historic Rodman Hall property

·2 min read

The art collection at Rodman Hall will be looking for a new home.

Brock University and Rodman Hall Art Centre (RHAC) Inc., have announced a deal that would see the St. Catharines-based art collection return to the hands of the community through the ownership of RHAC, a not-for-profit group, and the property itself sold to a private developer.

The historic property on 109 St. Paul Cres. in west St. Catharines was originally owned by Thomas Rodman Merritt, and constructed in 1860.

Since 1960, the property has been used as an art gallery, first by the St. Catharines and District Arts Council, before Brock University took ownership of Rodman Hall in 2003.

The deal means the extensive art collection consisting of over 1,000 pieces will need a new location for housing. Both Brock and the City of St. Catharines have already committed to helping RHAC find the collection a new place in the community, although a permanent home has yet to be determined.

Taking over the property will be a local group headed by Nino Donatelli, who’s previous projects include former Domtar/CN rail lands in Merritton that include the Keg Restaurant and the Stone Mill Inn Plaza.

Donatelli said hopes to preserve the history of the 19th century building in its redevelopment.

“I am excited by the opportunity to explore the potential for refashioning this iconic property for additional residential uses while preserving the historic home and gardens,” Donatelli said.

Since 2003, Brock has spent more than $7 million preserving the collection at Rodman Hall that includes paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures by artists from across North America and Europe.

Brock president Gervan Fearon said the new deal between the university and RHAC will ensure the art collection maintains a community owned asset into the future.

“It has been a privilege to partner with these community leaders and the RHAC Inc. The new plan ensures that the community will be able to enjoy and access the collection, and indeed will be the rightful owner of it.”

Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News