News / Edmonton

Edmonton Artery and Graphic Arts building face steep preservation costs

The nearly $7 million is the cost for moving the buildings temporarily, restoring them and moving them back to the same spot.

The Mitchell and Reed Auction house was home to the Artery until the city purchased the building.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

The Mitchell and Reed Auction house was home to the Artery until the city purchased the building.

Two heritage buildings have been spared a date with a wrecking ball, but preserving them for the long term will cost many millions, according to a city report.

The Mitchell and Reed Auction house, which was home to the Artery, and the Graphic Arts Building, are both popular buildings in the city that were destined to be razed to make way for a construction yard for the future Valley LRT line.

Recently, council asked its administration to explore ways the buildings could be saved, and Wednesday a report was presented offering a short-term fix.

The city has found another construction yard space for the LRT, sparing the buildings for the short term.

But preservation of both buildings could cost nearly $7 million, according to Wednesday's report — and Coun. Scott McKeen said the numbers are jaw-dropping.

“Obviously we will have to have a robust discussion and debate around that," he said. "I am a little shocked by the numbers. They are really high.”

The nearly $7 million is the cost for moving the buildings temporarily, restoring them and moving them back to the same spot. Restoring both buildings on the site would cost $5.3 million and moving them to a new site and restoring them later runs $4.7 million.

Dismantling the buildings so they could be restored at some point in the future is estimated to cost $750,000, while protecting only the buildings' most significant heritage elements is estimated to cost $430,000.

McKeen said those cost also don’t include lost money for not redeveloping the buildings.  

“We haven’t event talked about the lost opportunity cost because that site was designated for a tower,” he said.  

He said the most important thing is there is no longer a looming deadline.

“It allows some time for the public and people who are interested to have a look at those numbers.”

Council will review the report at the Oct. 21 council meeting.

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