Decision to demolish Arlington premature: architects

Beneath the wooden exterior of the 110-year-old Arlington Inn is a prized brick building worthy of preserving, according to a Lacombe architectural firm.

The City of Red Deer has made a conditional offer to purchase the Arlington Inn.

Beneath the wooden exterior of the 110-year-old Arlington Inn is a prized brick building worthy of preserving, according to a Lacombe architectural firm.

In a report to City of Red Deer planners, Patricia Glanville and Jurgen Hartloper of Square Root Architecture Ltd. say the city’s decision to demolish the building it owns is premature because there hasn’t been enough consideration given to “fairly and properly establish the condition of the building.”

On photos dating back to 1912, stone window sills are evident, and the archway over the main entrance can only be of carved stone.

“Such elements could only have been supported in brick construction at that time, thus we conclude that the Arlington is a masonry building,” says the architects’ report.

They go on to say that by stripping off the newer stucco and timber, the original brick building would be revealed.

Hartloper said the interior just needs a bit of cleaning up to uncover its original condition.

“The work and cost involved in our opinion is worth doing to help preserve Red Deer’s history,” said Hartloper.

Red Deer resident Tim Lasiuta asked the architects to comment on the Parkland Community Planning Services report and supporting documents in favour of the city’s application to tear down the hotel at 4905 51st Ave.

Lasiuta will speak to city council on Monday, urging them to save the building and to consider the building as a Municipal Historic Resource under the Alberta Historic Resources Act. This designation would prohibit future alterations, renovation repairs, restoration or demolition unless the city gives approval.

Tara Lodewyk, a planner with Parkland Community Planning Services, has submitted a report for council’s review on Monday.

She has asked that the 45-day period, given after the city filed an intent to demolish, not be waived so that the community can provide feedback.

After April 10, demolishing can begin.

Lodewyk agreed the building is most likely brick since the basement foundation is brick. But she said it would be costly and difficult to remove, without damaging the brick substantially.

City of Red Deer manager Craig Curtis said it would be tough to restore the building to its original character.

He said both the city and the province determined through careful evaluation that the inn wasn’t historically significant enough.

“There may be some who differ with that opinion, but both the province and ourselves said it didn’t have sufficient original elements or integrity to warrant restoration,” Curtis said.

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