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Possible respite for Victorian hotel

Dexel Developments offers Nova Scotia Heritage Trust a chance to move the classic buildings at Morris and Hollis.



Dexel Developments owner Louis Lawen has offered a respite for at least one of the three historic buildings at the corner of Hollis and Morris streets. The buildings are slated for demolition. Lawen says he's offered to contribute the value of the demolition of the buildings (about $30,000) to moving the buildings---if the Nova Scotia Heritage Trust can find "a home for the homes."

Lawen made the offer a few weeks ago after being approached by Phil Pacey of the Nova Scotia Heritage Trust.

"We'd like to take that whole cluster of buildings," says Peter Delefes, president of Heritage Trust. He says the buildings can't be moved very far, and that most of the land nearby is owned by Nova Scotia Power. "We're trying to deal with [NSP], and see if they'd be willing to provide any space.

Lawen says the distinctive Victorian Hotel on the corner and, next door, the home of Charles Morris, who designed the layout of Halifax and several other Nova Scotia cities, are probably in no condition to be moved. But Morris's offices on Morris Street, housed in a building separate from the hotel and home, could be moved again---they were originally moved in the early 1900s to make room for the construction of the hotel.

Last Friday, November 6, was the unofficial deadline, but Lawen says that delays in having power lines moved underground near the hotel building are postponing construction, and therefore demolition of the buildings. As well, he says Dexel is still waiting for construction drawings and hasn't hired a contractor. He estimates that cranes will be up by February and that work on the power lines could happen as soon as three weeks. But he's willing to work with the Heritage Trust if an opportunity is presented. "If they said 'Look, we've found a home, but we need some time to move it,' I wouldn't tell him 'Sorry, you're out of time.'

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