Windsor

Abars in Windsor might not be demolished after all

The proposed demolition of Abars, a historic watering hole on Riverside Drive E. in Windsor doesn't have the support of the city's planning, heritage and economic development committee.
The existing main building of Abars has been on the property since 1904.

The proposed demolition of Abars, a historic watering hole on Riverside Drive E. in Windsor doesn't have the support of the city's planning, heritage and economic development committee. Rather, the committee decided it wants to ask council to seek to have the building deemed a heritage site.

The long-time bar closed in November after a dispute with the property owner — a subsidiary of the Canadian Transit Company — and the tenant.

On Jan. 28, the building's owner submitted to the planning department an application for a heritage alteration permit to demolish the building. It took until April 15 for the proper application to be completed properly, states city reports.

At last night's committee meeting Michael Samhat, who represented property owners, said there isn't a plan for the site once the building is torn down. In its submission to the planning department, the owners state they want the site to be cleared for "higher and better" commercial use.

Last night the committee voted to prevent demolition of Abars and to initiate a process for heritage designation. This is based on its history in Windsor as a roadhouse during the prohibition era.

Originally owned by the Hebert family, Abars was originally named Abars Island View Tavern and used to offer lodging services.

The Hebert family sold the bar to one of its long-standing employees, according to the city. The building was eventually bought by the Canadian Transit Company and then sold to one of its subsidiaries.

Abars was listed on the Windsor Municipal Heritage Register by City Council in 2010. 

Being on the registry means the property owner can't demolish the buildings right away. It means demolition can't be done within 60 days from the time of permit request to a council decision.

Being added to the registry doesn't mean a property can't be renovated or modified, though.

now