Historic jellybean houses likely unsalvageable
Saint John heritage buildings beyond refurbishment potential, says councillor
It is unlikely Saint John's jellybean buildings on Wellington Row will be saved by private sector developers, says a city councillor.
Prior to entering politics last year, Coun. Susan Fullerton looked at taking over the buildings — Second Empire row houses with distinctive carved windows, named for their brightly coloured paint.
Fullerton has renovated several heritage buildings as the owner of Chipman Hill Suites, a collection of historic properties in the city.
Fullerton's examinations showed they were in bad shape. She said the buildings, which were built around 1860, need too much work and are not particularly interesting inside.
"I personally don't see them coming back and I'm very, very, very sorry about that," said Fullerton.
"The facades of the three jellybean buildings are very beautiful, very pretty and very interesting, but what's behind the front doors of the two buildings that I saw, not much."
Fullerton said she would like to see a plan in place for what would replace the buildings before they are torn down.
"We don't want to look like a bombed-out town from the Second World War with gaping holes all over the place," she said.
This week, municipal workers are putting on temporary plywood cladding to keep the weather out.
Leona Laracey, chair of the city's heritage development board, said time is running out for the buildings.
"It gets to a point where it's no longer viable to repair or rehabilitate," she said.
Laracey remains hopeful that an investor or investors will be willing to take on the project.