Vacant buildings abound in St. John's, new project highlights
Frustrated by the number of vacant buildings in St. John's, a local writer has started a photography project highlighting abandoned edifices around the city.
"Vacant St. John's: A Photo Essay" is a Facebook page created by James Langer, a writer and editor at Breakwater Books.
"I just really started it out of frustration, just seeing so many buildings that don't seem to be cared for in the city the way they should be," said Langer.
"When I found out that the Harbour Light building and the New Hope building on Springdale were going to be demolished it seemed like, well it's too late to save those buildings — but maybe I can do something that would draw some attention to what's going on around the city."
It's just a sign of failure, no one wants to be around it really.- James Langer
Since he started the project earlier this summer, Langer has captured dozens of empty buildings around the city. One of the regions he's highlighted is Water Street, where there are several abandoned buildings in close proximity.
He also believes that abandoned buildings actually damage the neighbourhoods they inhabit.
"You've got Dominion that has vacated a number of properties throughout the city — Ropewalk Lane, Churchill Square, Newfoundland Drive — and if you want to hurt a commercial district and the surrounding community, leave a vacant building there," he said.
"It's just a sign of failure, no one wants to be around it really."
Langer said the City of St. John's needs to start thinking of ways to bring life back to the vacant properties, one region at a time.
"The city needs to have a plan ... it needs to actually focus maybe initially on one area and try to revitalize it," he said.
"And there are all kinds of ways to do that, we just need to be creative."