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Wall crumbles in controlled collapse

<p>It’s façade was buckling, but the London Arms apartment building at 151 Metcalfe St. is structurally sound, according to its owners.</p>




Tim Wieclawski/Metro Ottawa


Workers cut out then pulled down sections of the brick façade at 151 Metcalfe Street yesterday after residents noticed the facade had become unstable. Streets were closed in the area yesterday for the operation.





“At first it looked like the windows were sinking back into the building.”






It’s façade was buckling, but the London Arms apartment building at 151 Metcalfe St. is structurally sound, according to its owners.





A construction crew brought down sections of the west-facing wall in a cloud of dust yesterday after pieces of the building’s red brick façade began to come loose on Sunday night. During the work, a portion of cinderblock subwall behind the façade also appeared to have come down.





“We have the best engineers, we’re trying to deal with this the best we can,” said John Toth from Toth Equity, the owners of the building. Toth said he hoped tenants could move back into the building today, and added that the building’s façade will be reconstructed.





Steven Mitchell, a resident of the building, saw bricks on the sidewalk around 5 p.m. on Sunday and noticed the building’s brick façade was buckling.





“It was a little weird,” he said. “At first it looked like the windows were sinking back into the building.”





A city building inspector determined the bricks could possibly collapse. Residents in six apartment units facing Metcalfe were evacuated and put up in a hotel, said Louis Lemieux, with Toth Equity.





Engineers will conduct a thorough inspection, but the preliminary review found only the Metcalfe Street wall affected.





Amy Bender, who was moving out of the building, said she has no concerns about its structure.





“It’s a great place to live,” she said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous. I loved the apartment.”





The intersection of Metcalfe and Gloucester was closed for half a block in every direction from around 8 p.m. on Sunday night until Monday evening.


 
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