Nova Scotia

Acadian Recorder heritage building in Halifax could go to developers

The Nova Scotia government will ask developers if they have any ideas for a municipally registered government building that needs $700,000 in structural repairs.

At least $700,000 in work needed to bring building up to code and ensure long-term viability

The Acadian Recorder building on Halifax's Granville Street has municipal heritage status. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

A heritage building that was home to one of the longest-running newspapers in Nova Scotia needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs as it is offered up by the province to developers. 

The provincial government wants to find out who is interested in the Acadian Recorder building and the adjacent Dennis Building, both located on Granville Street near Province House in Halifax.

The province's minister of the Public Service Commission said some developers have already talked to him about the Dennis Building. Labi Kousoulis said the Acadian Recorder building would be bundled into a formal request for expressions of interest some time in the next few months.

Unlike the Dennis Building, the Acadian Recorder building is formally designated a heritage property by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

"Being a heritage property, the developer will be asked to conform to heritage rules," said Kousoulis. "Which will mean that there will be no major alteration to the facade. It will be maintain [and] restored."

The building was once home to one of the province's longest-running newspapers. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

The Acadian Recorder building was constructed in 1900. Until 1930, it housed the Acadian Recorder newspaper, which was founded in 1813.

Kousoulis said the building, which currently houses a Credit Union, needs at least $700,000 in work to bring it up to code and to ensure its long-term viability.

Four structural inspections conducted by Pinto Engineering between July and November 2013 noted a number of concerns regarding the roof and supporting columns. 

"The existing framing [was] not adequate to carry the design loads calculated in accordance with the current edition of the National Building Code," noted engineer Howard Allen.

Saggy floor and other problems

Part of the problem is the fact the building built next to it, which houses key government departments including the premier's office, was built more than 17 metres taller, which allows snow to collect and drift onto the shorter building.

Subsequent inspections to determine whether wooden support beams and steel supporting columns were adequate also noted deficiencies.

Allen's report noted "floor sagging," "the deterioration of wood framing" and the "severe deteriorate of the steel beams." The engineer recommended further investigation and said it was likely "the steel beams will require replacement or reinforcement."

Despite the deficiencies, Kousoulis was confident those who work in the building have nothing to fear.

"Oh yes they're safe, 100 per cent," said the minister.