The City of Winnipeg says it has issued a demolition permit for the historic Kirkwood Block, which burned down in early February, and that work should begin soon.
The building, which was built in 1912, went up in flames on Feb. 2, displacing small businesses and community organizations that were operating out of it.
Fire crews struggled to put out the blaze due to extreme temperatures freezing hoses and water lines. The extent of the damage to the 110-year-old building was too much, and it was determined to be a writeoff.
Pylons and construction fencing have blocked off sidewalks near the building for week, as rubble from the fire is scattered around.
The city says it’s up to developers to begin the demolition, which could happen any day now.
While the building awaits its final fate, the West End BIZ, which operated out of the Kirkwood Block, has been busy bouncing back from the fire.
“We’re going to be offering mural tours, restaurant tours, events in Central Park, a lot of stuff that were, you know, hard to do during the pandemic, but it has become a little bit easier now,” said Joe Kornelsen, executive director of the BIZ.
The group is still looking for a new place to lease, and Kornelsen says it might be an opportunity for the BIZ to expand.
Despite pandemic hardships, 10 new restaurants have opened in the neighbourhood between 2020 and 2021.
“We’re a resilient neighbourhood.”
“There’s a lot of opportunity, and a lot of folks are interested in kind of jumping back into and exploring. And the business community, business owners, investors can see that and they’re jumping on that.”
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