Hous­ing units planned

Western Union of­fice prop­erty to be de­vel­oped

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY JULIE COLLINS $"1& #3&50/ 1045 jcollins@cb­post.com

Ger­ard Du­gas is mov­ing ahead with plans for a hous­ing devel­op­ment on the Court Street prop­erty, the site of the for­mer Western Union ca­ble of­fices.

Du­gas was in Cape Bre­ton last week to meet with Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials.

“We are presently sur­vey­ing and sub­di­vid­ing the prop­erty,” he said. “The plan is for three build­ings with six semi-de­tached prop­er­ties (side by side) that can be sold sep­a­rately,” Du­gas said.

“Once we get ap­proval, the idea is to go turn-key with the build­ings. I have one price at the mo­ment and plan to get two more.”

He hopes to have the struc­tures built and sold this year.

Du­gas, who bought the prop­erty in 1988, said once the build­ing came down the lots still weren’t sell­ing, so he made the de­ci­sion to go ahead with plans to de­velop the prop­erty.

The mas­sive con­crete three­storey build­ing had been stand­ing empty for more than 20 years. Built by Western Union in 1913, it took a year and a half to build, at a cost of $80,000. The first of­fi­cial no­ti­fi­ca­tion that the First World War was com­ing to an end was re­ceived at the Western Union ca­ble of­fice some­time in the early morn­ing hours of Nov. 10, 1918.

In 1966, after the bishop of the Dio­cese of Antigo­nish gave his per­mis­sion, the Western Union Com­pany sold the build­ing to St. Joseph’s par­ish for $30,000 to be used as a par­ish cen­tre.

Re­fer­ring to the de­mo­li­tion of the build­ing in Au­gust, Du­gas said he tried nu­mer­ous times over the years to find a buyer for the prop­erty.

“It wasn’t meant to be I guess and at the end of the day we did what we had to do.

“It’s too bad some­one didn’t come along to save the build­ing and ren­o­vate it, but I couldn’t main­tain it any longer.”

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