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New commercial development could begin this year on former F.W. Robinson building property in Kentville

Kentville’s town council will soon be tasked with deciding if the former F.W. Robinson building property on Main Street can be labelled surplus and eventually advertised for sale once the lot is clear and ready for development.
The demolition of the F.W. Robinson building on Main Street, Kentville, in February 2018. - File Photo

Town and potential buyer currently in negotiations

KENTVILLE, NS - Details are not being made public because negotiations have not concluded but new commercial development could get underway on the Town of Kentville’s former F.W. Robinson Building property later this year.

Town of Kentville chief administrative officer Mark Phillips said town council deemed the Main Street property surplus last year and put out a request for proposals this past fall.

“We did have submissions,” Phillips said. “Council and I have been working with a purchaser for a development on the site.”

Although Phillips is not at liberty to divulge who the prospective purchaser is or what exactly the buyer has in mind at this time because of ongoing negotiations, he said it’s looking promising. He is “encouraged” and “very optimistic” about the purchaser and town being able to finalize an agreement. The site could see construction of a new commercial establishment beginning sometime in 2019.

The vacant lot on Main Street in Kentville that used to be home to the F.W. Robinson building.
The vacant lot on Main Street in Kentville that used to be home to the F.W. Robinson building.

Phillips said the site is clean from an environmental perspective. The F.W. Robinson building did pose some health and safety concerns but asbestos abatement and hazardous material removal was undertaken prior to the structure being demolished in February 2018.

After the demolition, the below-ground level was infilled. Sub-surface exterior concrete walls were left intact to mitigate the possibility of neighbouring properties being destabilized. Phillips said this means that whatever is built on the site would have a footprint of approximately 8,000 square feet or smaller.

He said that when divesting surplus land, the town wants to remain engaged in terms of what could be developed on a given site, opposed to simply putting up a for sale sign and selling off the subject property.

Through conditions in a purchase and sale agreement, the town encourages the buyer to establish a timeframe for development projects that is appropriate for both parties. One reason for this is so that the subject land doesn’t sit vacant for an extended period of time.

Completed in 1950, the F.W. Robinson building was first a car dealership but housed many different businesses over the years. After thoroughly exploring ways to potentially save the structure, town council voted in the fall of 2017 to have it demolished.

The Town of Kentville bought the building and land in August 2016 for $170,000 and had structural and environmental assessments conducted at a cost of $30,000.

Through work carried out by a consulting engineer, it was determined that the building wasn’t structurally sound. Following a public procurement process, the contract for the demolition work was awarded to Mid Valley Construction at a price of $250,000 before taxes. This included the cost of any hazardous material removal or abatement process.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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