Town buys former Legion property

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Calling for tenders to demolish building

Amherst purchased the former home of the Royal Canadian Legion on Princess Street and an adjacent parking lot at a recent sheriff's sale for non payment of taxes.

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.

dcole@amherstdaily.

Organizations: Royal Canadian Legion, Centre First Downtown Action Centre, Bank of Montreal Building

Geographic location: Princess Street, LaPlanche, Victoria Street

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  • Andrew
    December 18, 2012 - 08:12

    Good call by council on this acquisition. The removal of another idle building in the downtown core fulfils a plan to reviltatize the area. And, It make a tangible difference to the downtown to see a clean, shovel-ready lot as opposed to a derelict structure. Interestingly, I had spoken to someone a few months ago that this site might also be a good one for a new police station. The lot central to the downtown (which was key to council's plans for the station) and provides the opportunity to build a facility which is up to code and meets the current, and future needs, of our local police officers. The current offices for the police in the new Town Hall may be an adequate short-term solution, but in the long-term, the police department (and our community as a whole) may be better served by channeling any development funds into a new police department building on the Princess Street site vs. renovations to the old Town Hall on Ratchford Street. I still maintain that the old Town Hall building (if properly renovated) would make an awesome facility for Tantramar Theatre, and a larger Arts and Culture Centre for Amherst. (IMHO)

  • knowitall
    December 17, 2012 - 21:42

    ok first they voted to double their salaries now buying empty building for 60.000 - does anyone else see stupiditly here - quote by mr 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 developmentker - you mean parking for Indian affairs only . Where is all this money coming from

  • Bill
    December 17, 2012 - 20:05

    Oh boy room for disco lights!!! Has the town built any new buildings on any of these properties. How much did they get for the old police property. This sounds like a deal to me Ha!!! Most towns would of never wasted the money on the old Dominion building. Way to go!!!!