Comment 1106

By markbarbera (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2006 at 09:22:02

The Lister Block saga has now come full circle.

According to the September 27 column by The Spec's Andrew Dreschel, the Lister saga has now tipped fully in favour of restorative preservation. In today's paper, Dreschel describes the latest plans for the Lister now call for "the complete preservation of the downtown building, including its heritage features and concrete superstructure, while still converting the inside into modern offices".

Apparantly, the intervention by the Province has forced the DiIanni/LIUNA collaborators to turn to the 'plan b' that they insisted did not exist back in June. The reversion will likely cost the city more in the form of an extended lease, but the city ends up with the same square space in the renovated space. This is quite the feat, since LIUNA chair Mancinelli claimed the original building couldn't house this space.

The deal appears to have some collateral damage. Acording to Dreschel, the 1854 Thomas Building on James North and the circa 1900 brick building on King William will no longer be restored as proposed last June. Instead, he says they will be demolished in favour of newer buildings in the second phase of this development, with possibly some architectural elements preserved. I am assuming the facades would likely be preserved and incorporated on the exterior of the new buildings.

So it looks like the city's heritage committee and the planners working on the King William streetscape project will have their recommendations adopted after all. If only our council had the common sense to follow their expert advice to begin with. Why does it take outsiders (in the form of the Provincial government) to make the city work in harmony?!? What's wrong with our council???

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