The city of Fredericton is looking for people to submit development proposals for Lemont House, a designated historic building next to Officers’ Square.
“We’re really hopeful that someone comes forward with an ambitious plan to breathe life back into the property again,” said Jason LeJeune, a Fredericton city councillor.
The building, located at 605 Queen Street, was constructed in the 1880s. It first served as a primary residence, then a community centre and finally an apartment complex. It has 15 apartments but was vacant for several years before the city acquired it in 2021.
A historic building
“It’s one of the last buildings right on the waterfront that reminds us of just how crucial the Wolastoq or St. John river was,” said Jeremy Mouat, the president of Fredericton Heritage Trust.
Its historical architecture includes distinctive windows on the third storey, two-and-a-half storey brick construction and a Second Empire style roof.
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The city is looking for proposals from entities that will preserve the building’s historic architecture and are willing to renovate it. Although the city deemed the structure safe, it says the building needs extensive renovation.
LeJeune said they would consider proposals from private and not-for-profit entities. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31. After that, he said the city would score the proposals and hopefully decide on one or two successful ones.
“The city is very excited for proposals to come in, and to explore what the potential of the site is,” he said.
Many people out for a skate at Officers’ Square on Saturday didn’t know about the building, but some offered their thoughts on what they’d want done with it.
“We want it to turn into a candy store,” Anna Poirier said.
“Maybe a place for people looking for a place to stay when it’s not warm enough,” Benoit Locas said. He was familiar with Lemont House and also suggested adding a placard to identify it and its history.
Mouat said the heritage trust wouldn’t dictate what the city should do with the property.
“We just want it to be a new use that’s going to last. This is a pretty iconic part of the city,” he said.
He’s hoping to see the same measures applied to other properties.
“We’re hoping all the buildings down on the waterfront that have the same kind of heritage are also going to be repurposed,” he said.
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