Saint John's Gothic Arches faces uncertain future
Owner would like a lower tax bill
The Gothic Arches in Saint John has dodged the wrecking ball for 130 years, but the owner of the former church says he does not know how much longer he can keep it open.
Philip Huggard bought the Gothic Arches in uptown Saint John more than a decade ago and he’s been renting the space out to help pay the bills.
But maintenance costs and an annual heating bill of $20,000 are making it difficult to keep the building open.
"If things go wrong, if we lose tenants, we'll have to shut down or stop heating," he said.
"If other things happen, I'm not sure. Really, the tax burden is significant. If that keeps going that could shut it down as well."
Huggard is considering petitioning Saint John MLAs to reduce the property assessment down from more than $250,000 to $1.
Formally known as the Centenary-Queen Square United Church, the Gothic Arches sits outside a designated heritage zone and isn't protected from demolition.
In order to keep it standing, Huggard rents out the massive building to different organizations.
Red MacLean has been in the business of buying and selling antiques for 40 years.
Last month, he and four others opened the Gothic Arches Antique Shop. But, like the owner, MacLean’s business is just scraping by.
Huggard also holds a flea market in the building every Saturday.