Heritage group can have 'whatever it wants' from doomed buildings

A Saint John Heritage group hopes to salvage articles from a collection of buildings slated for demolition in the city's old north end.

PMV Canada spokesman says 2 older Main Street buildings will be first to come down

PMV Canada says it will demolish these vacant buildings at 120 and 126 Main Street over the next two weeks. (Google Inc.)

A Saint John group hopes to salvage heritage features from a collection of buildings slated for demolition in the city's old north end.

Heritage Saint John 2017 has reached out to PMV Canada, the company that owns the vacant residential properties around the intersection of Main and Albert streets.

"We could repurpose some of those materials, not see them end up in landfills like other demolitions," said Janelle Russell, Heritage Saint John's vice-president.

"There's, of course, the front trim, there's staircases, banisters. ... A lot of the buildings in this area are made out of virgin wood, so they're very strong, and the wood is still good and solid.

'If they offered them for sale ... they would make a buck. People can go down there and start fixing them up as individuals. I think it will work."- Gerry Lowe, councillor

Dave Loten, PMV's chief operating officer, told CBC News on Friday that the heritage group can have "whatever it wants" from the buildings.

He said his staff has already started to remove trash from a three-storey apartment building at 126 Main to reduce tipping costs when the bulk of construction debris arrives at the landfill.

Disposal of construction debris is about one-quarter the cost of regular trash.

Two buildings at 120 and 126 Main will be the first to be removed.

Loten said he would like to construct a new building on the properties, which are adjacent to each other.

A line of boarded-up apartment houses across the street from the two buildings will also come down in coming weeks, he said.

Neighbour wants them gone

Janelle Russell, vice-president of Heritage Saint John, says her group would like to salvage trim and other features from century-old north end buildings slated for demolition. (CBC)

Coun. Gerry Lowe said PMV Canada should try selling some of the buildings individually before resorting to demolition.

"If they offered them for sale ... they would make a buck," Lowe said. "People can go down there and start fixing them up as individuals. I think it will work."

Neighbour Carolyn Roberts doubted the Main and Albert buildings will ever be renovated.

"Those places need to be torn down," Roberts said. "They're just abandoned, people [are] setting fires. 

"It's just not safe for the kids."

About the Author

Connell Smith

Reporter

Connell Smith is a reporter with CBC in Saint John. He can be reached at 632-7726 Connell.smith@cbc.ca