The Telegram (St. John's)

Carbonear banking on potential

Banker’s Pub, among other properties, going to auction

- NICHOLAS MERCER SALTWIRE NETWORK nicholas.mercer @thecentral­ Nicholas Mercer covers Conception Bay North for Saltwire Network.

Set against a green residentia­l backdrop, the Banker’s Pub in Carbonear continues to set a striking image against the town’s skyline.

Located in the heart of the town’s downtown, the Water Street bar has been a draw for photograph­ers and curious people for years.

Its unique look features red brickwork with a white stripe just above the three-storey building’s main door. A wooden star still hangs from the front of the building, beneath some graffiti in an upstairs window and harkens to Christmase­s past.

Peering through the one pane of glass that isn’t covered, it is possible to see remnants of its former life.

Just inside the main door is a table and a couple of chairs, and what looks like a dartboard hangs above them. The floor beneath the table has started to give way, as the building was neglected over the years.

For the last decade, the building has sat dormant waiting for someone to pluck it from obscurity.

Before becoming a pub in the late 1980s, it was a bank. Hence the name.

“It has potential from looking at it from the outside,” said Carbonear Mayor Frank Butt.

That potential may soon be realized as the former pub will soon go to auction along with several other properties as Carbonear seeks to recoup the taxes owed on the properties.

During town council’s June 8 meeting, council members voted to start the auction process on 11 properties in the community on Valley Road, O’driscoll’s Lane, Southside Lower Road, Cross Roads and Water Street.

Mark Royle can see the Banker’s Pub building through the front window of his Water Street business while he works.

A co-owner of Darkstar Coffee Roasters, he can see the potential of the building that exists beneath the chipped paint and cracked brick at the front of the building.

“There is beyond potential there because the street has so much potential,” said Royle.

Royle isn’t the only person who sees potential in the Banker’s Pub.

Saint Properties’ Sean Skehan saw the property while driving through Carbonear a couple of months ago.

On that drive, he found a couple of other properties that interested him, but it was the Banker’s Pub that drew most of his attention.

The look of the building intrigued him, and he started looking around for who owned the property, but had no luck finding the person.

“The building has a bit of character to it,” said Skehan.

If he were to purchase the building, the idea would be to either renovate or restore the building.

“I like to keep the character in buildings. I don’t like to modernize them too much,” he said.

The building and its location offer any number of combinatio­ns when it comes to what the building could be. Things like a small café, a brewery or short-stay accommodat­ions in the upstairs part of the building are all things that it could be used for.

Either one would serve to add to the feel of Carbonear’s downtown as the town awaits the start of Phase 2 of its downtown redevelopm­ent plan.

Carbonear has the funding for the water and sewer services of the next phase secure and is waiting for funding to do the above-ground work such as paving and sidewalks.

This work would run from Bannerman Street to P.F. Finn Street and would include in front of the Banker’s Pub building.

Whatever goes there, Butt said, it would have to be appetizing to the people who live in the area behind the pub.

“It has character and if someone were to put something in there it would be great,” he said.

Should someone buy the old building, Royle would like to see the history of the place maintained instead of a teardown and rebuild.

“Maintain the history of the street,” he said.

 ?? NICHOLAS MERCER • SALTWIRE NETWORK ?? The Banker’s Pub is one of several properties in Carbonear going up for auction to recoup back taxes.
NICHOLAS MERCER • SALTWIRE NETWORK The Banker’s Pub is one of several properties in Carbonear going up for auction to recoup back taxes.

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