Demolition begins on Electrohome building

A new chapter in the decades long saga for 152 Shanley and the midtown Mount Hope neighbourhood.

A quick recap:

  • The building was purchased by a numbered company in February 1998 for $1
  • It languished for 20 years from neglect by the owners who didn’t pay taxes, ‘sometimes’ carried out City issued orders for small and large things like snow removal and bricks falling from the facade
  • There is a known contamination issue under the building as it was used a site for various manufacturing companies. The Ministry of the Environment reports indicate contamination with the industrial cleaning solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE and other contaminants on the site including some metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds
  • The site was never remediated by the owner during 20+ years of ownership
  • Ted Parkinson, on behalf of the Mount Hope Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association, wrote several articles over the years about the neighbourhood’s struggle with this building
  • The City of Kitchener twice attempted to force a tax sale (2017 & 2019) because the total unpaid taxes reached $1.2 million
  • Neighbourhood residents participated in a Design Charrette that led to a Vision Statement for the building and property. The Vision Statement was approved by Kitchener City Council as a guide for any future developer
  • During the second tax sale in early 2019, the owner suddenly came up with minimum payment to retain ownership of the building ($448,798.43)
  • Shannondale Developments (Toronto) bought the property on November 12, 2019 for $1.4 million with an indication it would begin demolition as soon as possible
  • By mid-December 2019, a Kiewsetter Demolition sign went up on the fencing and workers began removing windows

What’s happening now?

  • Any hazardous material (apart from ground contamination) was removed from the building in advance of demolition
  • The demolition contractor, Kieswetter Demolition, has begun carrying out a ‘sympathetic demolition’ which means they will try to save as much material from the original 1898 building such as bricks, beams, wood planking, etc. The building has been in a state of decay for many decades now and there may be very little to salvage
  • Shannondale Development indicates they would like to repurpose and reuse elements of the saved materials if they can. They don’t yet have a final design for the property
  • The single storey addition will be demolished first and has already begun. They will give them more room to dismantle the 4 storey original building
  • The rest of the building will be dismantled, floor by floor to maximize capacity to reclaim materials and minimize the impact on the neighbourhood re: airborne debris, etc
  • Our Ward 10 Councillor, Sarah Marsh, is in regular contact to receive updates and pass them on to the neighbourhood and the neighbourhood Development Committee will also keep tabs on the progress

Neighbours are already fantasizing about having a small, cozy neighbourhood pub in the newly redeveloped building…. hmmmm… sounds delightful on this cold and blowy winter afternoon.

This hoped for community space is sometime off, but it’s a good time for dreaming and planning, and maybe starting a naming contest for that pub!

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