Magee House pro­posal could re­open side­walk

Hin­ton­burg her­itage build­ing’s owner says he plans to brace dam­aged struc­ture

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - JON WILL­ING jwill­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/JonathanWilling

There could be a work­able plan to brace the crum­pled Magee House and re­open the side­walk in front of the her­itage build­ing in Hin­ton­burg.

The city re­ceived an en­gi­neered plan late Thurs­day with de­tails about how to re­in­force the build­ing at 1119 Welling­ton St. W., city me­dia re­la­tions of­fi­cer Ian Miller said Fri­day in a state­ment.

The pro­posal in­volves brac­ing the build­ing, mostly from the in­side, to sta­bi­lize what’s left of the struc­ture. It would sat­isfy the city’s order to rem­edy an un­safe build­ing and re­turn the traf­fic flow and street park­ing back to nor­mal. The plan would also al­low the side­walk to re­open rather than forc­ing peo­ple to scam­per across the road mid-block or cross the street well in ad­vance.

City en­gi­neers still need a few days to ex­am­ine the plan.

The city said the prop­erty owner has un­til the end of the month to de­cide if he’ll go through with a brac­ing plan or de­mol­ish the build­ing.

Prop­erty owner Ovidio Sbrissa said he plans to go through with the brac­ing, which he said was a “col­lab­o­ra­tive de­sign ef­fort” with his en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant RJC En­gi­neers.

“We’re go­ing to be putting pro­tec­tion along the side­walk for peo­ple to walk un­der,” Sbrissa said.

Sbrissa said some work could begin in a week, but noted the chal­lenge with work­ing in winter con­di­tions. It would take about a month for the full brac­ing to be done, he said.

Sbrissa said he wants the brac­ing de­sign to be es­thet­i­cally pleas­ing for the com­mu­nity and in­cor­po­rated into a re­de­vel­op­ment.

The west­ern part of the stone build­ing col­lapsed July 24. No one was in­side the build­ing at the time of the col­lapse and no one was hurt.

The city gave Magee House her­itage pro­tec­tion in 1996. The build­ing dates back to 1881.

The build­ing has been frozen in time since the col­lapse last sum­mer with a gap­ing hole ex­pos­ing its in­nards.

Mean­while, at an­other va­cant her­itage build­ing, the city has fined the owner of Som­er­set House in Cen­tre­town for al­low­ing the build­ing to be ex­posed to the el­e­ments.

Jake Grav­elle, program man­ager of by­law en­force­ment, said the owner was charged with fail­ing to com­ply with an order to en­close the ex­te­rior of the build­ing to be weath­er­tight and to re­strict the en­trance of unau­tho­rized peo­ple.

The fine for fail­ing to com­ply with the order is $550, in­clud­ing the vic­tim sur­charge.

Som­er­set House, at 352 Som­er­set St., at the cor­ner of Bank Street, has been va­cant since a par­tial col­lapse in 2007. The city last fall warned the prop­erty owner to make sure the build­ing was prop­erly pro­tected from the winter el­e­ments.

Prop­erty owner Tony Shahrasebi said there was a small open­ing in an area pro­tected by tarps and it was fixed im­me­di­ately after be­ing flagged by by­law. He said the build­ing is heated over the winter.

TONY CALD­WELL

A sec­tion of the Magee House, a her­itage build­ing on Welling­ton Street West seen here after a re­cent snow­fall, col­lapsed in July.

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