City begins demo of historic apartment building on Maryland Street

WINNIPEG — The City of Winnipeg has started demolition of a historic apartment building in Winnipeg’s West End.

Crews began the demo of the abandoned apartment building in the 400-block of Maryland Streetthe morning of Saturday, Jan. 18.

The decision to tear the building down was made after a fire tore through the complex on Jan. 8.

The blaze forced nearby buildings to be evacuated and closed the southbound lanes from Ellice Avenue to St. Matthews Avenue for most of the following day.

It took over six hours to fire crews to put out the fire, leaving the building as an ice encrusted shell.

The city said the most recent blaze on Jan. 8, was the third fire to ravage the building.

The building had been previously damaged in two separate fires that happened in January 2019.

The 2019 fires caused the building to be boarded up and vacant.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service suspects the most recent fire was likely due to squatters trying to escape the cold weather.

CRACKING DOWN ON VACANT BUILDINGS

Recently, the city has been trying to crack down on vacant buildings in Winnipeg, implementing an empty building fee for buildings that are vacant long-term.

The fee took place on Jan. 1 and forces land owners to pay the city one per cent of the most recently accessed value of the building annually.

To discourage boarding a building, the city also charges land owners a Residential Boarded Building Permit fee which costs $2,420 for a single one-year permit.

A $1,000 penalty is given for owners who do not obtain Boarded Building Permits when required.

Building owners are also subject to inspection fees which range from $605 to $1200 depending on the type of annual inspection needed.