A couple that owns a downtown Kentville business see potential for further growth and this is among the reasons why they decided to buy the former F.W. Robinson property.
Andrew Zebian, who with his wife, Mariam, owns Phinneys at 64 Webster St., said they have been looking at the now vacant F.W. Robinson property for the past year. They decided to purchase it about three months ago.
Their vision is to build a two-storey structure on the land, located at 374/376 Main St., with commercial space on the ground floor and quality residential units upstairs. The Zebians plan to lease the commercial space rather than use it for their own purposes.
“Phinneys is where it is, and it’s been here for 100 years, so I’m not going to move Phinneys anywhere,” Zebian said.
However, he describes the Main Street property as “a perfect, prime spot” and the location was among the aspects that intrigued him. Zebian said he has grown very fond of Kentville over the past seven years since he and Mariam brought their family here. The father of four considers the town home and recognizes the possibilities presented by the downtown.
“Being on the street seven days a week, I see the potential of regrowth here,” he said. “It’s my hope to be on council next year and to work hard advocating for downtown Kentville.”
Zebian said the town’s business district is beginning to rebound. He believes the development, especially the commercial component, will help the downtown core continue to grow and flourish. Zebian said there is more that can be done in this regard and he wants to do as much as he can to encourage further growth.
The Zebians plan to begin construction relatively soon and for the building to be completed within a year or two. They would like to hear from anyone interested in the commercial space. Potential tenants can contact them at email@example.com.
ABOUT THE PROPERTY
Completed in 1950, the F.W. Robinson building was first a car dealership but housed many different businesses over the years, including the Edge lounge. 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. After thoroughly exploring ways to potentially save the structure, town council voted in the fall of 2017 to have it demolished.
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.
The F.W. Robinson building did pose 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.