This is because the detour takes you past the demolition that is underway of a large section of the former Domtex building.
The demolition of this building will dramatically change the landscape of Water Street and take with it an important era of Yarmouth’s past.
Standing here since the late 1800s, generations of families worked here when it was the cotton mill. The mill was owned by Cosmos Imperial Mills in the mid-1970s when it was purchased by Dominion Textile. It was a shocking announcement in 1991 when Dominion Textile announced the mill would be shutting down.
In the decades since, the property has been owned and managed by the industrial commission. There has been successful, and unsuccessful, occupation of the section of the building being demolished.
A tender for construction was put out by the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission, which said it would cost less to tear down the section of building than it to repair and retrofit it.
The three municipal units involved with the industrial commission – the Municipality of Yarmouth, the Municipality of Argyle and the Town of Yarmouth – all agreed.
The tender amount of $3,038,000 plus HST is being shared equally between the three municipal units.
The tender contract went to Dexter Construction.
Businesses located on either end of the property – Novatec Braids and Tri-Star Charters, which will still remain following the demolition – had expressed interest in purchasing sections of the building that is being demolished. But the decision to demo the section still went ahead.
Asked why the decision to demolish, Greg Shay, acting general manager for the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission, said a few months back that the building was getting expensive to maintain and carrying out new work would be very costly.
“There has been interest from a number of parties to rent space but one of the obstacles we always ran up against was, quite often, fire marshal orders and retrofits and changes that would have had to been made to make something suitable for certain types of activities, particularly on the third floor,” he had said.
“From an engineering standpoint and from a cost standpoint it turned out the less expensive route was to demolish it rather than try to rehabilitate it,” Shay had stated, saying the cost to fix up the building had been estimated to be in the vicinity of $6 or $7 million.
“Like a lot of old buildings, they have a useful life. They all have a definitive lifetime on it and this one is well past it,” he said.
This demolition project is a major undertaking, in terms of the work that has, and will, take place, and even took years to prepare for. Work to ensure that the businesses located at either ends of the property are not interrupted when the demolition extends towards them has been ongoing for months, and includes wall separations and separation of water and electrical services.
Environmental remediation of the site is part of the work. Interior gutting has gone on for the better part of this year, which has involved removing anything salvageable and removing and disposing properly hazardous materials. Demolition debris that is not suitable to be left on site as brownfield fill will be sorted as C & D material and sent to the Hardscratch Road site.
Months ago during a heavy weekend rainstorm a section of the building’s roof had collapse. Structural engineers were brought in to inspect that and the section was secured.
Given the size and scope of the demolition, this will still be a lengthy process. This week Shay said the timeline for the project remains the same, with the project completed by earlier spring or sooner. This detour in place is scheduled to be only for this week, but as previously reported there will be intermittent detour requirements over the course of the demolition schedule. Shay said to date the project remains on budget.