Saint John to demolish vacant building owned by PMV Canada
The Main Street building is 1 of 47 purchased by the Fredericton company in 2016
Read the latest on this story: PMV Canada says it will tear down decrepit Saint John building on its own
Saint John council has approved the demolition of a vacant six-unit apartment house on Main Street in the city's old north end.
The apartment house is one of 47 buildings purchased in 2016 by PMV Canada Inc., a company based in Fredericton.
The company picked up the buildings after former owner, Phillip Huggard Properties Ltd., went bankrupt.
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At the time, PMV Canada promised to renovate many of the buildings and demolish a handful that were in poor condition.
While the company has been renovating buildings closer to the city's uptown, little has been done with a collection of PMV Canada properties in the area around 126 Main St. — the building now slated to be demolished by a city-hired contractor.
Property in bad shape
Saint John Mayor Don Darling says PMV Canada has not responded to attempts by municipal staff to discuss their concerns.
"There are a series of properties that are in very poor shape, and when you have one owner that has multiple properties, you want to get with them and understand what their plans are," said Darling.
"Here we are a couple of years later and not much has happened."
The apartment building at 126 Main St. +has been vacant since at least December 2016.
Its power was disconnected in July, 2017 and in October of that year, city staff issued a "notice to comply" order.
A city engineer's report describes the three-storey wood frame building and a two-storey shed-like structure behind it as vacant, dilapidated and unsound.
The report also says the buildings represent a fire threat and danger to people entering it.
On the city's radar
Over the past year, police responded to reports of children or youth inside the building on two occasions.
The city report noted the property has been on the municipality's radar for "a number of years" and has also been damaged by a fire in December 2012.
The property was assessed at just $2,700.
Dave Loten, CEO of PMV Canada, could not be reached for comment on Monday evening.
In November 2017, company workers were busy renovating a number of apartment houses in Saint John's Waterloo Village area.
At the time, Loten told CBC News that his workers were close to shifting attention to the vacant buildings in the old north end.
"Next year the boards will start coming off the windows on Main Street," he said. "We're on our way, and we're going to get there."
Loten said PMV Canada had already invested close to $1 million in the former Huggard properties on top of the purchase price.
In the interview Loten repeated his 2016 assertion that some of the buildings in the old north end would be demolished.
But according to the city staff report, while PMV Canada had purchased a demolition permit for the two structures at 126 Main St. in January, it had not removed the building by an "agreed timeline."
The city will now issue a tender for removal of the buildings.
It is expected the cost will be $20,000 to $25,000, which PMV Canada will pay.