Nova Scotia

Developer spruces up North Sydney landmark

A North Sydney developer is hoping to breathe new life into an old building that once housed a bank and a library.

A North Sydney developer is hoping to breathe new life into an old building that once housed a bank and library.

Jason Finney and his partners have spent the last three months renovating the brick building on Commercial Street — the last home of the Wilfred Oram library.

"It's one of the few buildings left downtown from North Sydney's glory days. It's attractive on the outside, it's well built and it's great on the inside as well," he said.

The five bank vaults, terrazzo tiles and oak staircase date back to the late 1800s, when North Sydney was a vibrant shipping centre.

Finney and his partners bought the building from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality after the library was moved earlier this year. He said they've invested up to $100,000 in the venture so far.

Fellow businessman Leo Steele applauds their efforts.

"I think it's great that they are fixing up the old library," Steele said. "It's a landmark in the community, and we have to hold on to those things."

Steele is renovating an old building down the street where his family business started in 1896. He considers it an "upgrade" for North Sydney's downtown.

Both Steele and Finney are confident they will find tenants for their renovated buildings.

Finney said the upstairs offices are upgraded, air-conditioned and ready to rent. He said the main floor still needs some cosmetic work.

now