Giant hole remains from last summer’s fire
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
An empty foundation is all that remains of the former Victorian Arms apartment complex that was destroyed by fire last August. While another residential development is planned for the property, the project has been stalled because of several issues.
AMHERST – Amherst’s mayor remains optimistic a downtown apartment complex will proceed despite the continued presence of a big hole where the former Windsor and Black Block buildings stood.
“I’m a little disappointed it hasn’t started yet, but I’m still confident something is going to be done with the property soon,” Robert Small said. “It’s my understanding the developer has had a few issues to overcome. Hopefully he will be able to show some work on this site.”
Earlier this year, Halifax developer Alex Filimon announced plans to build a $4-million, 40-unit apartment complex on the site of the former Victorian Arms Apartments that was destroyed by fire last August.
While Filimon said in late March that he hoped to proceed later in the spring, several issues have cropped up that have prevented him from starting the project.
It’s unknown what the issues are, but it’s believed is locating sufficient parking for tenants. Filimon already agreed with the town to lease 10 parking spots on the corner of Electric and Maple streets.
Filimon has not been available for comment, but said in an email that he has been working through the local issues and expects to have something to announce in the next few weeks.
The mayor said council’s concern is the continued presence of the remnants of last summer’s fire at the height of the tourist season. Small said council wants Filimon to at least show some progress on the property.
“Our biggest concern remains the hole there and the lack of progress,” Small said. “If we don’t see progress soon there will come a time when we have to make a decision on how to proceed. What we don’t want to see is waiting another 30 days and another 30 days.”
Mark Casey, chairman of the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee, said his members have been asking questions about the project in hopes of bringing new life to that section of the town.
“It’s something that has come up in our meetings,” he said. “We’re still hopeful we’ll see some development there. The top job is to get more people living in the downtown and coming to the downtown to support business.”