Nova Scotia

Rona store in Bayers Lake donated by developers for Syrian refugee efforts

Two developers in Halifax, including one who spent the first 14 years of his life in Syria, are donating a vacant store in the Bayers Lake Business Park so it can be used as a drop-off centre for items needed for refugee families.

George Armoyan and Joe Ramia have roots in Syria and Lebanon and want to help bring refugees to Nova Scotia

The former Rona building in Halifax's Bayers Lake Business park will start its new life as a donation drop off centre for Syrian refugees on Saturday. (Jack Julian/CBC)

A pair of Halifax developers is donating a large retail space to the Nova Scotia government to help settle Syrian refugees coming to the province.

George Armoyan of Armco Capital and Joe Ramia of Rank Inc. say the province can use a vacant Rona building in the Bayers Lake Business Park. 

"We have opened up the building so it can be used as a drop-off centre for the next few months so people can drop off items that might be needed by these refugees," said Armoyan.

The building at 350 Horseshoe Lake Dr. will start taking donations at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The centre will be run by a combination of volunteers and government workers. 

Here's a 360-degree look around the new drop-off centre.

Armoyan said the provincial government had been looking for a sizeable space and the Rona store — with more than 100,000 square feet — can offer a huge storage area.

Joe Ramia, of Rank Inc., is one of two developers donating a vacant Rona building in the Bayers Lake Business Park. (Pam Berman/CBC)

Both developers are immigrants themselves. Ramia moved to Canada from Lebanon and Armoyan moved from Syria when he was a 14-year-old boy.

"My parents wanted to find us a better place to live and that's why they chose, back in the 1970s, to move us to Canada," said Armoyan. "It is very sad to see what has happened in Syria."

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