EDMONTON – One of the only remaining pre-1900s commercial buildings in Old Strathcona will be torn down.
After months of attempting to save the Etzio building on Whyte Avenue, Alberta Culture and Tourism has given the go-ahead for the building to be demolished.
“We looked at the economics of the situation, we looked at some of the technical aspects of redeveloping that site and ultimately we came to the conclusion that the owner had attempted to consider preservation and had just found it to be not possible,” said Matthew Wangler with Alberta Culture and Tourism.
The tear down of the 116-year-old building was announced in August when plans for a three-storey development were unveiled.
The province issued a requirement to the owner of the building to undertake a historic resources impact assessment, which obligates the owner to work with the city and province to explore any and all options to preserve the building.
“It’s really one of the few remaining early commercial buildings along that street so we were very concerned about the possibility of its demolition,” said Wangler.
However, after ensuring all avenues were explored and exhausted, the province has given clearance for the building to be demolished.
“I think it’s quite a significant loss of our history,” said Wangler. “I think we’re losing a piece of Edmonton’s early history and I think we’re losing a piece of the very distinctive heritage character of that area.
“We’re not happy, of course, with the outcome here, but we’re pleased that the process ran its course.”
Wangler says the province will now focus on becoming involved in the process for future projects sooner, in hopes of ensuring something like this doesn’t happen again.
While a timeline for demolition has yet to be set, after the Etzio building is torn down the Old Strathcona Hotel and the Ross building will be the only two buildings in the area left from the 1800s.
The Etzio was built in 1898.