ANTIGONISH, N.S. - A familiar fixture in the downtown core of Antigonish is coming down. The Antigonish Professional Centre building is being demolished and removed from its site in the lot adjacent to the St. James United Church.
Tanya Felix, a representative for Probst & Partner Investment, the company that owns the building said the company has decided to take the building down and start over. This decision was made in light of the extensive damage that was done to the building when a truck collided with it on Aug. 7.
“Our plan is to develop the lot at some point – probably in the new year,” Felix said. “It was damaged so badly that it left us with a choice to take it down, or to patch and repair it. [Tearing it down] seemed like the most logical step.”
Felix noted the company was considering repairs, renovations or additions after the incident, but the damage to the building was severe enough that it made more sense to tear it down.
The company ultimately decided that demolishing the building would be the safest course of action.
One issue that contributed to the decision to demolish was the fact that the building was struck in the corner – that affected the integrity of the building.
“It took away some of the things that the developer wanted to keep,” Felix said. “[The truck] hit the mechanical room, so a lot of things in there were damaged, and would have needed to be all redone.”
“It has been an eyesore for a while now. It’s definitely requiring some work. It’s basically a good way to make it safe for the public and clean up the lot,” Felix said. “We’re going to clean up the lot and make our own plans.”
Aside from one tenant at the time of the Aug. 7 incident, the Antigonish Professional Centre was otherwise empty. Felix said the single tenant in the building was planning on moving out as well.
“We had made arrangements with the tenant to vacate the building, and the process was delayed in his move. Realistically, the building would have been empty by the Aug. 1,” Felix said.
The fact that the corner of the building was struck added another wrinkle to the moving out process for the building’s single tenant, as well. Felix noted that since the damage was to the corner of the building, they were not able to remove the truck, until the tenant was completely moved out of the building – something that “left a scene for a week.
“I felt bad for the driver for having to endure that week,” Felix said.
Felix said Probst & Partner haven’t decided exactly what they’re going to do with the property, but that a plan is forthcoming, and expected to materialize within a year.
Jon Bain, director of the Eastern District Planning Commission, said it was obvious by looking at the site of the impact, that things were not looking good for the building.
“My guys on site saw a steel beam sitting on the hood of the truck,” Bain said. “They were concerned about removing the vehicle at that time.”
Since there was still technically one occupied office in the building, with its final tenant in the process of moving out, Bain said the Department of Labour had “primary jurisdiction” of the situation.
“[The Department of Labour] requested the owner get a structural assessment of the building done,” Bain said, noting that it never actually came to the point where an assessment was done. Probst & Partner decided to go ahead with the demolition once the last tenant was out of the building and the vehicle was removed.
Bain said the original plan was to get the tenant out of the building, then remove the vehicle – and perform a thorough structural assessment on the building, “but the owners decided, once the vehicle was removed, they were going to demolish.”
“Their long-term plans were to demolish, regardless. That’s my understanding,” Bain said. “That’s why the building was supposed to be vacant, and why they were removing tenants.”
Once the owners decided to demolish, Bain said the Eastern District Planning Commission was no longer involved in the matter.
“Our involvement was, basically, originally just hiring security.”