And while he can tell me that it is Harvard’s intention to tear down the venerable former home of Novia Café, he can’t tell me what will replace it.
“We don’t have a specific plan but it’s always been our intention — we’re in the business of developing buildings downtown,” says Bunden. “It would be our intention to develop that site with the chance of satisfying the business community in the future. But we do not have a specific plan for that site today.”
The building does fall within the Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District — which gives it pretty much the same protections as a heritage building — but there is a process to allow the demolition of protected properties
“The building has completed its useful life. The costs are absolutely prohibitive to restore the building. We have a reputation of restoring buildings that can be restored,” he said.
“We looked at many, many, many options for that building and none of them made sense.”
When asked if perhaps Harvard had allowed the building to fall into disrepair, Bunden replied, “We’ve been in business for 108 years. We have a reputation for maintaining our buildings to the highest quality. And we’ve maintained all our buildings to the highest quality. At some point in time, some types of buildings with certain types of construction reach the end of their useful life.”
City staff are currently reviewing Harvard’s application and will bring a recommendation to council when that is done.
Before a property within the Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District can be demolished, though, council will have to give its approval. So maybe it’s not time to grieve the place just yet.
We’ll have more on this in Thursday’s print edition of the prairie dog.