AMHERST – Amherst has purchased the last of the former Tang properties and will demolish the former home of the Royal Canadian Legion on Princess Street.
“Council has made the decision to get tenders out to demolish the building. We have budgeted for the demolition of that building,” Mayor Robert Small said following Monday’s December council session. “We had set aside $150,000 in this current year’s budget to purchase and demolish that building. It’s been an ongoing issue for several years. We’re going to move forward with the demolition unless something new comes along that causes us to change our minds.”
Acting on council’s direction, town’s CAO Greg Herrett purchased the properties at a sheriff’s sale on Dec. 14 for $59,118.70. This represented the outstanding taxes on the former Legion building and the adjoining parking lot as well as sheriff sale costs.
As well, the Legion accepted a town proposal in June that would see it receive $10,000 to assign the first mortgage they hold on the two properties after the town, or another buyer, was successful in acquiring the properties at the sheriff’s sale by public auction.
“This is a good move by the town,” Deputy Mayor George Baker said during the council session. “The building was unsightly and something had to be done. This opens the door for additional downtown development.”
Baker said purchasing the property protects the parking lot for public use and fulfills part of the Centre First Downtown Action Centre that called on the town to bank land for potential development.
The deputy mayor said there isn’t that much land available downtown for future development. He sees the town’s purchase as a way of alleviating that concern.
Small said there are no long-range plans for the property. A consultant last year had suggested the property as a potential site for a new police station, but the mayor said the town has not discussed doing that.
The town purchased two former Tang properties in December 2010, including the Dominion Public Building that is now the home of town hall, and the former police station and Bank of Montreal Building on the corner of LaPlanche and Victoria Street. No use has been determined for that building.
It also demolished another Tang property in 2011, the former Bird Drapery Building that housed the Amherst Mural Project’s Signature Mural.