City says ‘no’ to downtown federal building

Tyler Clarke
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The federal building at 1288 Central Avenue is seen at sunset on Monday, hours after city council expressed a lack of interest in purchasing it. 

Despite Coun. Rick Orr’s insistence that the city at least consider taking ownership of the federal building at 1288 Central Avenue, council has shot down the notion.


“This was just a key point to say, ‘have we looked at it?’” Orr said at Monday’s city council meeting, noting that he was not necessarily endorsing its purchase.

“We need a long-term vision of what we’re going to need,” he said.

The city’s long-term vision includes a population of 50,000 people by 2025. It only makes sense that the city would look at all of its options for future growth, Orr said.

“The federal building has been looked at, it does not meet any of our requirements today and in the future,” Mayor Greg Dionne said at Monday’s meeting.

Built like “Fort Knox” with heavy cement walls, Dionne said that to refurbish the building for another purpose would be too cost-prohibitive.

One idea Dionne said has been floating around is using the building as a new police station -- something he said makes no sense.

We need a long-term vision of what we’re going to need. Rick Orr

“The problem that we have is the federal building is 30,000 square feet, and today at the police station we now occupy 36,833 square feet, so it’s already too small for it today, let alone a growth opportunity,” he said.

The federal building at 1288 Central Avenue was brought up due to the feds’ deeming it a surplus property. The city was asked if they have interest in purchasing it.

The provincial government had also considered its purchase, however they decided against it.

As such, the property will now be listed “for sale” by a local realtor. 

Geographic location: Fort Knox, 1288 Central Avenue

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