SAULT STE. MARIE -- The City of Sault Ste. Marie is shelling out a hefty premium to purchase the vacant lot of a former strip club within the city.

Despite not getting an appraisal on the two parcels of land, believed to be valued at around $69,000 each by the Municipal Property Assessment Corp., the city has agreed to buy the former Dime Nightclub and Studio 10 location on Hudson Street, for $350,000.

"For decades, when you came into Sault Ste. Marie over the bridge, the first thing you saw was that facility," said Mayor Christian Provenzano. "That will no longer be the case."

A fire destroyed the former strip club location in Feb. 2019 and it has been sitting vacant ever since. The license for the club expired this year and the owner approached the city to sell it. At that point, preventing another strip club from being built in a location directly across from the border became a priority for the city.

"This occurred over months, it wasn't a rash decision, it wasn't a quick decision," Provenzano said. "In the end, I think council made a decision that will be looked upon in the future positively."

He said no councillor wanted a strip club to be the first thing a tourist sees when entering the Sault from across the border. Exactly what the city will do with the land is unclear.

"We're focused on that area, we're doing a lot of good things in that area. There's a private-sector developer who is working in that area, so we're not concerned about the disposition of the property after we own it," Provenzano said.

That didn't sit well with the lone councillor who voted against the purchase.

"I can attest that every councillor would agree that we wouldn't want it here, even myself, but I just found the price that we paid for the property, being just a vacant lot, was far too high," said Matthew Scott. "I think that we should've taken a chance on the fact that it wouldn't have been rebuilt."

Scott said for the price of the purchase, the money could've been used in helping to revitalize struggling nearby areas, such as Jamestown.

"We really could've put the money into the infrastructure in the area that exists, rather than purchasing a lot that doesn't, with no plans in the future for it," he said.

With the license on the property expired, no other properties in the Sault are zoned for a strip club.

For future potential applications, Sault Ste. Marie City Council will deal with it on a case-by-case basis.