Halifax's historic former Elmwood Hotel could avoid the wrecking ball

New owners have bought the building and could decide to renovate it and make it part of a new larger building.

New owners may decide to renovate south-end building instead

A demolition permit was issued for the former Elmwood Hotel, located at 5185 South St. in Halifax, but the new owners may decide to renovate the building instead of tearing it down. (Google Street View)

Halifax planners say the former Elmwood Hotel may not be torn down after all.

The historic building is located at the corner of Barrington and South streets.

Principal Properties had been given permission to tear it down and put up a new, six-storey structure. But the site was sold in mid-January to Galaxy Properties.

The new owners have contacted city planners with other ideas.

"They see some benefit to just keeping the building," said Aaron Murnaghan, a heritage planner with the municipality. "It's just attributed to their own creativity."

Murnaghan said developers sometimes choose to construct an addition around or behind an existing building to help finance restoration.

'We're very happy about that'

He points out that the Elmwood is located in an area that could soon be designated as the Old South Suburb Heritage Conservation District. If approved, the designation could include incentives for property owners to preserve historic buildings.

"But even without any guarantees of incentives from the municipality, the developer is willing to move ahead with this, so we're very happy about that," said Murnaghan.

An artist's rendering of a proposed development at 5185 South St. in Halifax. Principal Developments Ltd., was considering demolishing the Elmwood Hotel. The property has since been sold to Galaxy Properties. (Principal Developments Ltd.)

Heritage advocates are also pleased.

"This is really good news," said Larry Haiven, who took part in protests against the demolition plans. "It means developers are getting more savvy about the economic value of preserving these older buildings."

Haiven pointed out that there are other gorgeous buildings in the proposed conservation area that are slated for demolition.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca