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Exchange District building
January 14, 2020

Winnipeg considering demolishing historic Exchange District building at risk of collapsing

The City of Winnipeg is considering demolition for a historic building more than 110 years old in the Exchange District after renovations put the building at risk of crumbling and collapsing. Now Heritage Winnipeg is left fearing a piece of Winnipeg’s history may be turned to rubble.

On Friday, the city closed southbound Princess Street due to the “unsafe condition” of the Thomas Scott Memorial Orange Hall at 216 Princess St.

Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director Cindy Tugwell told CTV News she is in contact with the owner of the building who was renovating the building for mixed-use.

Tugwell says excavations to the basement caused the building to lean precariously.

“The building moved and now it’s leaning and it’s compromising the other building and also compromising the safety of the building itself for public safety,” she said. “I think that’s the big concern with the city, because they’re saying it could possibly collapse.”

The city said the building experienced and “unexpected structural event” that caused the closure of adjacent public areas.

“The City is now working with the building owner and developer on options for remediation,” a spokesperson for the city told CTV News in a written statement.

Tugwell said the owner had an emergency engineer examine the building, and the city is having an independent engineer report on the incident.

“Depending on the degree of public safety, right now the city is actually entertaining the fact that it has to be demolished,” Tugwell said.

Tugwell said the cause of the damage will also be investigated, whether it was caused by incorrect work on the building, or by the poor soil conditions.

She said she was told the city’s engineer report is expected to be back in the coming week.

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