Developer’s plans back to drawing board

Disappointed with town’s decision on former police station

Darrell Cole
Published on November 7, 2012
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.
Darrell Cole - Amherst Daily News

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.