Demolition approved for burned-out Bank Street building

OTTAWA — For over a decade, a burned-out building at 1125 Bank Street has been an eyesore to residents of Old Ottawa South.

But on Monday, Mayor Jim Watson tweeted that a demolition permit is being issued to finally tear it down.

The brown brick building was the former home of a video store and a spa on the second floor.

After being gutted by fire in 2009, it became the poster child for those who urged the city to toughen property bylaws and force owners to either sell or redevelop empty buildings within a reasonable time. It’s unclear why owners are acting now, and the long term plan for the site is still unknown.

Shawn Menard, the councillor for the area, has been pushing for a solution to this problem property for years.

“I remember when the fire happened in 2009 and in my campaign a few years ago we talked a lot about how this needs to come down,” Menard said. “It has been three years of intensive work, but it has been 11 to 12 years as a longstanding community issue.”

Residents hope whatever replaces the building fits in with the community of low-rise commercial and residential buildings.

Chris Herdman, who lives close to the site, sees it as an opportunity to draw more people to the community to shop and support businesses.

“I do not want to see a giant condo tower, but I’m all for mixed buildings,” Herdman said. “I want something that adds some vibrancy to the community.”

Connor Wilkie, who walks by the site regularly, thinks there are enough restaurants in the area and wants a place for people.

“I think it’s probably a good idea to tear it down, nothing is really happening with it,” Wilkie said.  “The one thing I think this city needs is quality affordable housing. That would be my ideal candidate for that building.”

According to Menard,  after the building is demolished, the ownership group will clear the property and create a green space until they finalize their plans for the future of the site.

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