UPDATED: Kerr remnant to be saved

What little remains of the Kerr Apartment may be incorporated in a new building on the site or otherwise saved.

This is all that remains of Kerr's Apartments. It may be used as part of a new structure.

What little remains of the Kerr Apartment may be incorporated in a new building on the site or otherwise saved.

“Unfortunately the building has been structurally damaged beyond repair,” owner Armand Olender said in an email.

“Collapse of roof, interior walls and most of the floors has left the granite walls in unstable condition, bringing them at risk of toppling, in the event of high wind or small earthquakes.”

Olender says he insisted upon reviewing the feasibility of keeping the front facade with the date stone and arch and integrating it into future construction.

“I hope that the structural soundness will allow the Victoria Street facade to remain,” he said.

Olender didn’t indicate exactly what he has planned for the site. No development permit has been issued.

Fire chief Simon Grypma says although it was initially thought the granite walls of the burned-out building might be preserved, those hopes were dashed once the back wall was taken down.

During demolition, it was discovered the old mortar was disintegrating. Some stones were cut, but others were just held in place with mortar.

“It’s not like you could use them to build a square wall,” he says.

“It would be a piece-together puzzle. It’s difficult in today’s environment because of the labour intensity of that kind of construction.”

Although Grypma says everyone involved was well aware they were dealing with a heritage building, “unfortunately due to the type of construction, the nature of the materials and the new code requirements, it was virtually impossible to reuse as we originally hoped.”

Most of the building was torn down over the weekend.

The Kerr, built in 1911, was on the city’s heritage register, but not a municipally designated heritage building which would have required a special permit to demolish.

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