Closed business in Corner Brook an eyesore, says board of trade

The old Studio Bar on Broadway in Corner Brook has been boarded up for several years, and the board of trade says the building is an eyesore for the entire area.

Building a point of contention for area business owners

An unused building in downtown Corner Brook is a source of stress for business owners, Colleen Connors reports 2:22

The old Studio Bar on Broadway in Corner Brook has been boarded up for several years, and the board of trade as well as business owners say the building is an eyesore for the entire area.

Matthew Connolly, board president, said it looks like an abandoned building.

"It's got that bland paint job that's slowly fading away on us — it just looks abandoned, unused," Connolly said.

According to Connolly, the board would like the city to take action to at least spruce up the exterior.

"It would be nice to see a big map of Broadway on here, saying where the businesses are located, and probably other signs stating what those businesses are and what they provide," he said.

"What a great opportunity to advertise for our tourists that are coming into town."

Corner Brook business owner Mike McGowan says he will be closing his business to move elsewhere. (CBC)

Mike McGowan, owner of McGowan's Quality Meat and Sausage, said customers are deterred from coming into the area because of the look the building adds to the area.

"It's ugly, isn't it? I mean, who wants to look at that," McGowan said. "Who wants to come in on their Saturday morning and go for a wee shop and then look at a place like they're in Detroit?"

McGowan said he will be closing shop soon, hoping to move his business elsewhere.

"I will be leaving this area because of this area of town. I don't know what I'm going to do — I think I'll go back across to Meadows and start a wee business over there to let all my satisfied customers have access to my sausage," he said.

No action on building, says mayor

The city has implemented a downtown improvement program, which offers a tax credit so businesses can access money to improve the aesthetic of their property.

However Neville Greeley, the mayor of Corner Brook, said there hasn't been any action on this building, and they haven't heard from the owners. 

"We have not received any applications in regard to this particular building. Now, having said that, this particular building is not an eyesore from the outside," Greeley said.

"It's boarded up yes, but it’s certainly not an eyesore," he added.

Greeley said there is a lack of available business space in the downtown area of the city because of cases like this one.

"I know we have some properties that are either boarded up or not boarded up, and people just don't want to sell or don't want to do anything with them," he said.

Some other cities in Canada have introduced a higher tax rate for unoccupied buildings to encourage owners to either renovate or move, but Corner Brook has not looked into this option.