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Steddick Hotel could soon be torn down

Once a landmark and now an eyesore, the Steddick Hotel could disappear from the downtown Elmira streetscape in the next few weeks.

Property owner Becker Milk Company has hired a contractor and applied for a permit to demolish the building.

A long time coming โ€“ Woolwich Township has been pressing the owners to tear it down for years โ€“ the move is part of plans to redevelop the site to accommodate an expanded Macโ€™s convenience store and rework the entire lot at the corner of Arthur and Wyatt streets.

Admitting โ€œitโ€™s a bit of a disaster, that building,โ€ company representative Pat Gudgeon said in an interview this week that recently completed work to the interior of the building, including the removal of asbestos, has paved the way for the demolition to proceed.

As soon as the township issues a demolition permit, final preparations will get underway, with the building coming down sometime in the next three or four weeks, he added.

Dan Kennaley, Woolwichโ€™s director of engineering and planning, welcomed the news, as the old hotel has become increasingly problematic, not just presenting an unappealing sight.

The deteriorating condition of the building, and the frequent break-ins by vandals, has the Woolwich Fire Department worried about the fire hazard and the safety of those who enter the building illegally, believed to be area youths.

The township has received a demolition permit application from Becker Milk, but is awaiting an engineering report about the stability of the buildingโ€™ footings because of the proximity to the neighbouring structure. Once the paperwork is complete, a demolition permit would likely be issued within a few days.

The Steddick is to make way for a new Macโ€™s convenience store, including the Subway restaurant. Plans call for the construction of a 3,500-square-foot building on the site of the old hotel, providing far more space than the current 1,400 sq. ft. Macโ€™s building.

Following the demolition of the current convenience store building, a gas bar would be built in its place.

Changes made last year to the floodplain regulations in downtown Elmira cleared the way for redevelopment on the site. The plan approved by council eased restrictions on a host of properties that sit on top of whatโ€™s known as the Weigel Drain, a 2.5-kilometre stretch of open and closed channels that flow into the Canagagigue Creek. Elmira is built over the lower section of the drain.

Demolition of the Steddick would allow the new convenience store and gas bar to be moved slightly north from their current locations, further away from the floodway that essentially channels along Wyatt Street.

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