The walls of the former Craig’s Automotive Service came tumbling down on Feb. 5.
The former gas station was out of service for decades when the City of Fredericton bought it in July 2023 for $1.
The business opened in the 1940s and it ran until it closed in the 1990s and fell into disrepair.
The former station stood next door to the Sunshine Diner, a small neighbourhood diner and convenience store co-owned by Louis Wilby.
“We’re kind of glad to see it go because it’s been a bit of an eyesore with broken windows and the building’s started to deteriorate,” he said.
The city came to an agreement with the Province of New Brunswick to settle outstanding property taxes when it bought the site.
David Coon, New Brunswick’s Green Party leader and a local MLA, said he heard complaints from a number of constituents and has fought for the city to demolish the building since he was elected in 2014.
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“It’s been a long journey but this is a good day,” he said.
Plan to revive site
The demolition is part of Fredericton’s plan to resell the land.
“It’s nice to see the site being remediated and reborn into something new,” said Jason LeJeune, the chair of Fredericton’s economic vitality committee.
The city will have to remediate the ground since it housed large underground tanks. LeJeune said initial tests suggest that potential contamination hasn’t spread.
“It didn’t appear there was any migration off-site, which is a really positive sign,” he said.
He said the total financial toll of clearing up the site is unclear but the city plans to recover costs when the land is purchased.
LeJeune didn’t give a timeline but said the plot would be sold after it was cleaned.
New building options
The land is zoned for a commercial development and LeJeune said that could include a mixed-use building with residences on upper floors.
Coon said he hopes the new building is something that will benefit the community. Wilby said he hopes it isn’t a high rise building or a corner store.
“I hope it fits into the neighbourhood and kind of reflects on Sunshine Gardens, which is a great area to raise children,” Wilby said.
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