Thursday, July 28, 2011

What to do with an old confectionary...

Earlier this year Arch Sturaitis made a presentation at a City of London Public Planning forum, the purpose of which was to find possible uses for the old McCormick's property near Dundas and Highbury. Arch suggested we preserve the facade of the building (although see my comments about facades) along with some interior elements.

The purpose of the building? A Museum of Industry and Commerce (MIC) focusing on London and region's accomplishments in "Manufacturing, Finance, and Enterprise." Arch also suggested incorporating a Science Education Centre, Horticultural Centre, Industrial Textile and Millinery Arts Centre, Gemology Centre, Historical Archive/Museum, Cultural Works Centre, and Research Library for the Arts.

Just for the record, the current status of the factory is up in the air and apparently London's Realty Services Division will be accepting bids for the property sometime this fall. So if anyone out there would like to snap up an old biscuit works and turn it into an MIC, this could be their big chance. I don't know much about gemology centres but I've already pointed out that we need a real museum and we could also use an archive.

I contacted John Fleming of City of London Planning Division to see how far London's got in organizing all this. Not very far. Mr. Fleming agrees that the proposed MIC "would likely fit nicely with the revitalization initiatives and planning underway in the Old East Village." But he added a few questions to ponder. Like, who would own this building once renovated? Who's going to pay for the renovation? Would the finished result generate enough revenue to help pay for itself?

If anybody has the answers, feel free to leave them here.

Update, July 2012: I see no one had the answers. Neither did City Hall. And the tax sale was a no sale. Counsellor Stephen Orser considers this good news and stated in a recent Free Press interview that "we are moving forward." As Counsellor Orser's idea of moving forward is demolition, we can anticipate a vacant lot here soon.

Update, September 2012: A fire has now wreaked havoc in the building. Not surprisingly - after all, that's what happens to lots of abandoned buildings much more worth saving than McCormick's. Remember Locust Mount and Alma College? We can probably expect the fire-damaged section to be demolished even if a buyer is found.

Update, June 2014: I stand corrected. Sierra Construction, a Woodstock firm, has bought the building for $1 and are talking about turning the old building into a seniors' residence.

Update, June 2015: Perhaps someone should bid $2 for Kellogg's?

1 comment:

  1. Time is ticking on this building. City announced bidding process to end with back taxes being paid on the property of approx.$700K and then the new owners will probably do whatever they like. Sad really. Wish someone would have contacted a national Museum organization i.e. Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation National Museum of Industry etc or some such entity to consider preserving the building.