Downtown Yellowknife’s 10-storey Bellanca building may be torn down, at a cost of up to $4 million, according to its property manager.
The building has been vacant since 2012.
Last August, significant quantities of the building’s siding fell away in high winds – an early-morning incident in which nobody was hurt. At another time of day, it could have proved disastrous.
The building’s owner – Toronto-based Kingsett Capital – is now considering tearing down the existing structure, NNSL first reported (paywall) on Monday, though discussion of the Bellanca’s future had begun before the siding incident.
The Bellanca building in downtown Yellowknife is pictured on the morning of May 28, 2019. Sara Wicks/Cabin Radio
“It’s bleeding them [the owners],” said Darin Benoit of McCor, the property manager for the building. “It’s costing about $350,000 a year.”
Benoit added, taxes, heat, and electricity contribute to the cost.
In order to remove the structure, situated in the heart of Yellowknife’s downtown, it would have to be taken apart floor-by-floor.
Benoit put the potential cost of that operation to Kingsett at $3 million to $4 million, calling it “a hard pill to swallow.”
City councillor Niels Konge told Cabin Radio he was unsure tearing down the vacant building is the right solution.
“I’m not convinced it is really opening up space,” said Konge.
“I mean, the owners are going to be the same owner unless they decide they’re going sell the land. We all know what a downtown lot is worth.”
A large quantity of siding fell from the building in August 2018.
Konge suggested an alternative would be for “a non-profit … to do what the Yellowknife Women’s Society is doing with the Arnica Inn,” referring to that society’s plan – placed before council on Monday – to transform the inn into transitional housing.
Konge added: “I’m sure somebody could find a use, but it’s whether or not it’s a viable use.”
If Kingsett does decide to remove the building from the lot, Benoit said the process could take upwards of three to four months. As yet, with no decision made, there is no sense of when such an operation might take place.