Construction crews were evacuated from 56 King Street North in Uptown Waterloo Thursday morning after they attempted to perform repairs to stabilize the building in anticipation of a possible wall collapse.

Chuck McMullan, whose restaurant McMullan’s on King is inside the century-old building, said the walls began to move when workers were dismantling the chimney.

He said he was told by construction staff that the side of the building was at risk of an imminent collapse.

'We love the core of Waterloo, it’s a great place to do business. We don’t want to be done here.' — Restaurateur Chuck McMullan

After workers safely left the building, police and hydro crews arrived to cut the power and keep pedestrians at a distance. Princess Street East was closed off as well.

Later in the afternoon, crews took down the building's chimney as a precautionary measure.

Last week, all employees of McMullan’s on King, Night School, The Thief and The Idiot and Loop Clothing were told that a roof truss had snapped inside. The massive storm which hit Waterloo Region in July was believed to be the cause.

McMullan says despite the stress and anxiety over the current situation, he plans to either rebuild his restaurant at the same location or relocate to another part of Uptown Waterloo.

"We are not walking away from this and washing our hands," he said. "We love the core of Waterloo, it’s a great place to do business. We don’t want to be done."

New beginnings 

One of the four businesses inside 56 King Street North has already made the decision to move permanently.

Alnoor Keshvani, the owner of Loop Clothing, announced on the store’s Facebook page that he would be moving the business to 13 King Street North in Uptown Waterloo.

Keshvani told CBC News that he was informed by a building inspector that the structure was determined to be unsafe for tenants and customers, which influenced his call to move.


Alnoor Keshvani, the owner of Loop Clothing, hopes to have his new store open for business by early September. (Matthew Kang/CBC )

He says one benefit to the move is that he will no longer have to pay rent, since he is the owner of the new space. 

"Now we’re in a location where we’re under our own roof, under our own terms, under our own beams," said Keshvani.