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Historic dreams crumble

The owner of the historic Arlington building, gutted by fire over threeyears ago, says it will likely never be rebuilt if the original redbrick walls are kept in place.


The owner of the historic Arlington building, gutted by fire over three years ago, says it will likely never be rebuilt if the original red brick walls are kept in place.
And one city councillor suggested yesterday that the city could instead buy the building, near 106 St. and 100 Ave., and redevelop the site into city office space.
Speaking to city council’s executive committee, owner Saraswati Singh said the 100-year-old bricks will likely crumble when construction begins on a proposed five-storey underground parkade for the future 20-storey condo tower on the site.
He argued that the walls can be either taken down brick-by-brick or replaced entirely with a recreation of the original design.
“We simply can not proceed until the issue of the walls are resolved,” he said.
The executive committee asked for an independent technical report on the site yesterday and for administration to provide options on how to maintain its historical value — to be presented to councillors in the summer.
In May 2007, city council approved redevelopment of the site by incorporating the original building into the design. The proposal was granted five extra storeys to offset restoration costs.
That restoration, however, is now economically unfeasible due to Alberta’s escalating construction costs, said Fraser Brinsmead, the architect for the proposed tower.
Coun. Amarjeet Sohi suggested that, if the owner is unable to maintain the building’s historical value, the city could purchase the property.
“We spend millions and millions of dollars renting space for our office requirements,” he said. “If we can build our own building and also preserve the historical character of the site, it’s something to look into.”


 
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