An iconic, but crumbling Edmonton building on the corner of 124 Street and 102 Avenue had a date with the wrecking ball early Friday morning.
Demolition began on the 104-year-old Buena Vista Apartments, which was home to several businesses including the Glenora Bed and Breakfast.
While the landmark building was important to many residents, the century-old structure had ongoing heating, electrical and plumbing issues.
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“It looks good on the outside,” Normand Campbell, owner of the Glenora Bistro, told Global News in 2014, “but on the inside, it’s really old and decrepit.”
Vancouver-based Edgar Development Corporation is replacing the Buena Vista Building with The MacLaren: a 25-storey mixed-use tower, with commercial space at street level and 240 residential units above.
Campbell said over seven years, he spent tens of thousands of dollars to repair the old structure and keep it up to code, and believed the new development will benefit the entire neighbourhood.
Henry Edgar, VP of Edgar Development Corporation, told Global News that developers planned to preserve as much as the outer brick façade as possible. Artistic renderings on the company’s website indicate the lower level of the tower would like very similar to the Buena Vista.
Incorporating the look of the old building into new development has been done before. In March 2009, fire gutted the iconic Kelly Ramsey Building in downtown Edmonton, but left the outer walls largely intact.
The building’s original façade was declared a municipal historic resource. The old building was taken down, brick by brick, each one numbered and put into storage. The bricks that could be salvaged were later reincorporated into the new 28-storey building, used to make up the tower’s second to fourth floors.