Demolition begins with asbestos removal

Demolition of the historic Arlington Hotel in downtown Red Deer has started with the removal of harmful materials such as asbestos, a city official says.

Demolition of the historic Arlington Hotel in downtown Red Deer has started with the removal of harmful materials such as asbestos, a city official says.

Rick Elm, land co-ordinator with the City of Red Deer, said on Friday that a fence has been erected around the downtown site following the issuing of a demolition permit on Tuesday.

Elm said the main structure probably won’t be knocked down and hauled away until mid-May.

The city bought the hotel in February with plans to strengthen and enhance the business, cultural and recreation centre of the downtown, acting city manager Colleen Jensen said.

A historical review confirmed physical characteristics from the building’s historic period no longer remain or are irreparable.

Therefore, the hotel, which is closed and empty, wasn’t eligible for provincial grants to assist with restoration.

The hotel, located at 4905 51st Ave., was built 110 years ago. Its location was selected because of the proximity to the railroad station.

The demolition is about taking a leadership role in the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown, said Jensen.

“New development on the site aligns with the Greater Downtown Action Plan where it’s envisioned as a gateway between the Riverlands district and Red Deer’s historic downtown,” Jensen said.

Pidherney’s Trucking is conducting the internal cleanup, which is monitored by PHH ARC Environmental.

Elm said the internal work is a necessary first step to maximize safety.

“By removing identified materials such as asbestos from the structure, we’re able to ensure proper cleanup of the site prior to the physical demolition process beginning,” Elm said.

Jensen said the decision to demolish the hotel has been difficult and emotional for some. “We believe we have made a sustainable decision for our community.”

“Moving forward with the project prepares our city for a vibrant future focusing on the renewed vision for Red Deer’s downtown future,” Jensen said.

Demolition is expected to be finished by the end of May.

The site will be temporarily used as a public parking lot until redevelopment occurs.

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