Housing units planned
Western Union office property to be developed
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.”