A Halifax man came home to an unexpected surprise after being away for the Labour Day long weekend.
He arrived home to shards of glass scattered across his bedroom floor from a broken window he hadn’t been alerted to.
“I came home and found this work being done – the siding being removed, scaffolding up around the windows – and I hadn’t heard a peep from the new owner,” Peter Fillmore, a south-end resident, said.
Fillmore’s been renting a flat out of a historic Young Avenue mansion for 10 years.
He says while many people assume the area is extremely expensive to rent in and that the mansions are single-family dwellings, many of the homes actually have multiple apartment units within them.
“Many people think that the rents are very high here but they’re not, they’re quite modest and I consider what I have here to be a bargain,” Fillmore said.
The home he rents out of is known as the Fram House. It’s one of several mansions along Young Avenue, a destination street known as Halifax’s grand boulevard.
It’s an area where many believe its sense of character is being jeopardized developers who are buying the homes and tearing them down to develop multiple, high-income properties on the massive old lots.
“We’ve had so much demolition on this street already this year – this is the fourth house that we’re losing and you know these are wonderful old, historic homes,” said Peggy Cunnigham, a Young Avenue resident and member of Save Young Avenue, a concerned citizens group.
The Fram House was recently purchased by Dino Capital Limited. It’s the same developer that bought and demolished a large home known as the Cleveland Estate that used to be next door to the Fram House.
The closing date on the Fram House purchase was moved from late November to the end of this past August. Immediately following the close, demolition of the property began even though there’s still several tenants renting apartment units inside.
“It may get less and less comfortable here as this work carries on around me and they continue to sort of tear the building down around my head,” Fillmore said.
Fillmore says although the new owner wants him and the other tenants out, his lease doesn’t expire until the end of April 2017.
Concerns over the demolition happening while tenants still resided in the building have been brought to the city.
“A stop-work order has been issued and the owner of the building has been told to stop demolishing until there is a plan showing how what he’s doing isn’t going to impact the quality of life and safety of the residents that are still in the house,” Waye Mason, the municipal councillor for the area, said.
A motion was put forward to regional council to expedite the application to designate the home as a heritage property.
“I think that what’s happening is the owner of the building wanted to damage the building enough so that it wouldn’t qualify as a heritage building anymore,” Mason said.
The motion was defeated 10-6 by council.
Mason says the reason is that the building was already halfway torn down.