Architect ridicules idea of preserving Moncton mall façade
John Leroux says preserving Highfield Square brick wall as part of new complex doesn't make sense
A New Brunswick architect says the idea that the façade of Highfield Square in Moncton be saved for its architectural significance makes no sense.
Earlier this week Mayor George LeBlanc said at least one city councillor had suggested incorporating the brick wall into the design of a sport and entertainment centre downtown.
It has no reason to be preserved. It deserves to be demolished.- John Leroux
John Leroux of Fredericton says the old Highfield Square has absolutely no heritage value.
"I don't think anyone really drops by Highfield Square and thinks, 'Oh that really puts a bump in my heart every time I walk by, I had some great times there.'," said Leroux.
"You know, it has no reason to be preserved. It deserves to be demolished," he said. "Spend your intentions saving something like Moncton High which is one of the greatest buildings in Moncton and really adds to the community."
Leroux, the author of six books on New Brunswick architecture, classified Highfield Square as an example of the worst urban commercial planning of the 1960s and 1970s.
"I think in the example of Highfield Square, if you build something newer that actually responds to proper urban planning and design and social material qualities - all of that stuff - it would be much better than what's there."
Highfield Square opened in downtown Moncton in 1967 and at one time boasted 150 shops and services. ECL Developments Limited announced the closure in 2012, stating its viability as an enclosed retail mall had become increasingly difficult.
The City of Moncton bought the vacant property in June for $6 million and is looking at spending between $2.5 million and $6-million to demolish the former mall and remove any hazardous waste on the site.
The city is preparing a request for proposals for two companies interested in designing and building a proposed sports and entertainment centre on the downtown site. Bird Construction Inc. and Ellis Don Corporation have been shortlisted as the potential developers.