Developer’s plans back to drawing board

Darrell Cole
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Disappointed with town’s decision on former police station

The owner of the former Victorian Arms Apartments buiding is disappointed with the town's decision to award the former police station to an Amherst businessman.

AMHERST – The owner of a downtown building destroyed by an August fire is disappointed with the town’s decision to sell the former police station for $2.

Alex Filimon said his plans to redevelop the former Victorian Arms Apartments property will now go back to the drawing board.

“It was a bit of a blow for us that we didn’t get the police station,” Filimon said Wednesday. “Christmas came early for Mr. Bembridge.”

Last week, during a special meeting, the town accepted Geoff Bembridge’s proposal to purchase the former police station which was evacuated the night of the fire that destroyed Filimon’s apartment complex and Doolys.

Bembridge plans to redevelop the police property into a new restaurant that will serve a breakfast menu and serve as an extension of Duncan’s Pub.

Filimon said he has nothing against Bembridge or his plans, but figures his company’s proposal would have been bigger and brought in more property tax revenue for the town.

His company offered $50,000 for the property. The town decided to go with Bembridge’s proposal because he plans to have the business up and running within three months. The town said Filimon’s would take longer than that.

The town weighed each of the four proposals against four criteria including price, value of the proposal to the town, strength of the overall proposal, qualification and experience of proponent and timeframe for development.

Filimon said he’s not in a position to say what his company was proposing for the property, but said he was going to use the existing police station and rebuild on the neighbouring property.

“We’ll have to go back to the drawing board to see what we can fit in there,” Filimon said.

The town has expressed concern with the hole left where the apartments were and the fence ringing the property. Filimon said he is not going to do anything with the property until he completes his discussions with the town.

“I met with the town before the bid and I was wiling to work with them. We had the financing in place and were prepared to move forward,” he said. “Right now, I have to go back and talk to them.”

Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said every conversation the town has had with Filimon has been positive.

“He’s very positive about investing in Amherst and we hope he decides to rebuild on that property and has success as a property developer in this town,” Herrett said.


Organizations: Victorian Arms Apartments

Geographic location: AMHERST

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Recent comments

  • Louise Smith
    November 30, 2012 - 08:00

    I am not familiar with this location other than the news articles but I am familiar with Alex Filimon and I would encourage those who are curious about him to have a look at him closer. Thanks to Google you can find all kinds of interesting information. Previous businesses of Alex(Alexandru) Filimon include CocoRenovations and Filimon Properties. References from people/businesses in the current area of his business (Cornwallis Developments) would be interesting as well. Don't always" judge a book by it's cover" is something to remember!

    • Steve
      August 06, 2013 - 14:20

      Louise is correct. Alex and his wife Michelle have a history of scams and cons. They are landlords in Halifax and are known to rip students off (security deposits, etc), and they also own multiple development companies. Internet searches reveal they owe upwards of 10million dollars to multiple investment agencies and clients. They also have multiple phone numbers and aliases. Just a heads up Amherst!

  • kevin
    November 13, 2012 - 16:30

    Jeff is in business for a reason to make a living from what i see around the town of Amherst Jeff also supports the town by creating jobs which the town collects taxes from when the employed spend their money in the town..So why not give the local guy a chance and create a few more jobs we all know jobs are hard to find.

  • Big A
    November 10, 2012 - 04:52

    I really don`t think it was a fair process. Jeff will make his money back, from the purchase of the building, on the first cup of coffee sold at his new restaurant. His businesses are all ready thrown in our faces all over town, Taxi`s, phone books, bill boards & at one point, even police cars. Jeff seems to be able to do as he pleases. As long as he`s happy, what difference does it make how anyone else in town feels?

  • Jason
    November 09, 2012 - 12:39

    yeah who needs those "sorts" of people downtown...there's enough of "those people"....sweet jebus...where is jebus when needyou him.

    • sueb
      November 09, 2012 - 13:53

      Why not build some low-rentals out East Victoria way, maybe on Rupert Street or Strawberry Fields. So how well that flies. Why cluster them all in one small radius downtown? Oh yeah, that's right - because it's better than spreading them out throughout the community where the poor folk might accidentally interact with the other castes.

  • sueb
    November 09, 2012 - 09:29

    Sure let's cluster a few more low-rental housing complexes downtown - everybody loves a ghetto. Give your heads a shake, Jeff is an astute businessman with a great plan to create yet another iconic landmark in downtown Amherst. $50,000 is a mere drop in the bucket compared to what his business will bring in and it won't create a need for greater policing in the area.

  • justathought
    November 09, 2012 - 08:58

    And who said for sure Mr filamon was going to spend $50000 on the property to but in low rentals for sure?? Has never been indicated. Jeff is probably a good guy....but I pay a lot of taxes and I just don't think I should have to buy him a new building for a restaurant or bar expansion.....

    • Honestly
      November 09, 2012 - 11:42

      @ JUSTATHOUGHT are you forgetting the town (taxpayers) received 550,000.00 for the property and why be so angry about a good decision! Our town council are good business people who we voted for...I'm also a tax payer and support the development of downtown. I respect the fact that you have an opinion I just happen to think that your opinion is wrong. Here's an idea lets all try to be a little kinder to our fellow neighbors and be happy for each other in our successes

  • Low Rentals
    November 09, 2012 - 07:54

    Am I wrong?....Isn't the old St. Charles building being made into low rentals? Why would we need another on Victoria St. When A particular building ( on Church St.) in the downtown area is eventually sold.... Where are the people gonna go? I know one resident is not even allowed in the downtown core, ( and he lives down town), according the the court news. Why put a low rental on main St.?? I'd rather see a Breakfast at Brittany's sign, instead of towels and blankets decorating our downtown facade. I have nothing against towels or blankets.....I use them myself. Just not on Victoria Street!!!

  • Kim
    November 09, 2012 - 05:02

    I agree with Gift Horse and Jeff's Friend above. Jeff has proven himself to be a very successful businessman and brings good things to the town. Low rental housing in the downtown core would definitely be an eyesore!

  • Justathought
    November 08, 2012 - 22:15

    Perfect!! So lets say the town councillors decide Jeff if the CHOSEN ONE to build a suitable business from the police building because of his "business plan". Do you not think its fair that he give us taxpayers a fair value for our building so he can expand his business???? $2?? REALLY?? FAIR??? Its straight out tax payer rip off!! I believe Mr Bembridge has and will make enough $$ to pay a fair price!! If nothing else he could have sold his Mercedes SUV to pay us what the building was worth!! What a JOKE this whole process was!!

    • Joe Murphy
      November 10, 2012 - 08:35

      This is the most pathetic comment I've ever seen. Jeff gets to drive around in a Mercedes because he's smarter and willing to work harder. Man some of you people are jealous. Get a grip. Please. The town should welcome this guy with open arms. As far as the developer who owned the Dooly's building: get real.

  • Early Xmas
    November 08, 2012 - 01:12

    Mr Filimon is so right!! What a nice Christmas present from the town taxpayers to Jeff Bembridge. This is absolutely crazy that the man/company that Had his whole apartment building destroyed by this fire made an offer for $50000 to try and use the police station building to once again build an apartment bldg..only to have the $$ turned down to a $2 offer to have a bacon and egg restaurant open till lunch daily? goes to prove there was some back door politics here. Perhaps the town council is happy the low income housing unit is gone and the councillors and Mr Herritt are happy not assisting Mr Fillamon build a new low rental building???shame on them if that is the case because not everyone can afford $1000 apartments! Lots of ppl in this and every town need low income housing. This decision was made before "tender" was issued as I see it.

  • Fuzzy bear
    November 07, 2012 - 21:54

    Oh yea I do have an opinion....we the taxpayers of Amherst take $2.00 instead of $50,000. Sure sounds like a good deal to me......NOT. However I cannot wait till the regular ADN commentators read this. I think I'll reseve the rest of my comments until then.....have a great day all.

  • Jeff's Friend
    November 07, 2012 - 18:13

    I'm extremely disappointed with all of the negativity surrounding the purchase of the police station. Jeff Bembridge is an intelligent business man who played by every rule to obtain the property. It saddens me that when someone does good, for the benefit of our town (future jobs, added entertainment venue space, small business, etc.) there are always a few 'citizens' that attempt to knock them down. I LOVE my little town and am very happy that 20 + years ago, Mr Bembridge decided to make it his!

  • don't look a gift horse in the mouth
    November 07, 2012 - 16:58

    I think it's wonderful that Mr. Bembrige has bought the property. At least we know that the property will help not hinder the downtown project. I am confident Mr. Bembrige will develop this into something amazing for downtown Amherst. The last thing we needed was to rebuild an apartment complex. The previous property with the exception of Dooly's was an eyesore. Nothing like pulling up to the intersection at the top of Lawrence street to see blankets hanging in the windows or people hanging out. Good riddence. Out with the old, in with the new. Congrats Jeff, make us proud!