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Nelson Daily News building sold

A local group, led by Greg Haydu, has bought the longtime home of the Nelson Daily News. The iconic sign will be coming down, but Haydu expects it to be preserved. - Greg Nesteroff photo
A local group, led by Greg Haydu, has bought the longtime home of the Nelson Daily News. The iconic sign will be coming down, but Haydu expects it to be preserved.
— image credit: Greg Nesteroff photo

A local consortium has bought the old Nelson Daily News building, with plans to use it for retail and office space — and to add another floor to accommodate a small condo development.

“Beginning today, our crew will start renovating the building while remaining true to and respecting its heritage charm and character,” says Greg Haydu, one of the four partners, along with Nelson lawyer Tim Pearkes.

While the initial phase calls for some cleanup of the façade, it’s the interior that will see huge changes: they plan to completely gut and renovate the building, putting in new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

“It’s in a bit of a shocking state,” Haydu says. “It really has fallen into disrepair. We’re talking about a building that hasn’t been looked after.”

Built in 1899 for the London and British Columbia Goldfields Co., it was the home of the Nelson Daily News from 1908 until the newspaper folded last year. It saw several additions and many renovations over that time.

While the inside retains some heritage characteristics — including a built-in fireplace upstairs — Haydu doesn’t expect to find much else of value.

“As we go through our demolition, there may be some original woodwork, but a lot of this stuff is buried. We don’t think there’s going to be very much that’s salvageable in the interior. Having said that, if we are able to, we certainly will.”

The consortium plans to convert the building into four offices and a larger retail space, and is also hoping to increase the basement’s size and rent it out as well.

Work was already underway Wednesday afternoon using local tradespeople.

“We’ve got an empty building that’s not generating any income, so we’ve got to get going,” Haydu says. “Our timeline is ambitious, but we think doable. Hopefully we will have tenants in by late fall. We’re shooting for November.”

The first phase also involves planning the addition of another floor for small condo strata units.

“The development is consistent with the City of Nelson’s planning and development strategies which include higher density housing in the downtown core,” Haydu says, adding they’ve already discussed their conceptual plans with the city’s building and planning departments.

He says he and Pearkes originally considered another property, but it fell through.

“Tim walked in to the office one day and said ‘I wonder what they’re going to do with the Nelson Daily News building.’ We were looking at it as soon as it was listed.”

Haydu declined to name the other two partners, but said they are “closely connected to Nelson.”

Glacier Media Group of Vancouver put the Baker Street heritage building up for sale in February for $975,000. It’s been vacant since last fall.

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