Historic building collapses overnight

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One wall remains standing at 652 Princess St, which dates back to between the 1820s and 1840s.

Last Updated on December 27, 2020 by YGK News Staff

Update: On December 26th, the City of Kingston released a statement regarding the building collapse

On the morning of December 25th, the community awoke to reports that a building on the corner of Princess and Victoria streets had partially collapsed. By 4:30am, Kingston Fire & Rescue had responded to the incident, where Princess St. remained closed for a number of hours. 

The building located on 652 Princess St, also known as the historic Carnovsky Bakery is currently under development to become part of a 10 story, 350 residential condominium. The former bakery dates back to the 1840s, where it formed part of Williamsville. 

The project, led by In8 Developments, had intended to restore the former bakery and re-purpose the building. “When the project is completed this stand-alone restored and repurposed two-storey stone building will continue to form and animate the corner of Princess and as it has for almost 200 years,” Metropolitan Design, the appointed architectural firm states on their website.

While there were two walls still standing after the initial wall collapse, an additional wall had collapsed by late afternoon. There is now one wall remaining from the original structure. 

The changes to the building were subject to a Heritage Easement Agreement under the Ontario Heritage Act, approved by the City of Kingston in 2018. The buildings historical value stems from it being one of two original stone buildings from the original 1842 plan for Williamsville.

An assessment of the building in 2017 determined that the masonry of the building was generally in good condition, though some damage was expected to occur through the removal of the stucco.

Additionally, the report found that by 2017, the rear wall had deteriorated the most, with “movement and cracking evident in the brick and masonry.” The report noted that the developers wished to replace the brick and masonry with a glass curtain wall, allowing for greater visibility.At the time, the architectural firm supported the developers proposal to remove the brick and stone from the south portion of the wall, as it would improve “safety and visibility” of the structure.

Under the terms of the agreement between the developers and the City, the developers have ten days to notify the City of Kingston of any damages to the building. They then have 40 days to submit notice of intent to demolish the remainder of the building should it not be salvageable.

On December 26th, the City of Kingston confirmed that staff attended the site where the building collapsed, but did not disclose any details about the incident. “The building collapsed in the early morning hours of December 25, 2020. City staff secured the perimeter of the site and temporarily closed a portion of Princess St,” the statement said. The statement also clarified that the road closure was removed and was replaced with a temporary lane closure.

At the time of the statement, an announcement was also made that an investigation was under way.

Watch:

652 Princess St through the years

An archival photo of the Bakery

652 Princess St. Prior to the Removal of Paint and Stucco

The Former bakery with exterior exposed

An image of work being done on the building in early December, photo courtesy of Marc Shaw

What remains of the building

Photo Courtesy of Marc Shaw

Original Development Plan of 652 Princess St Project

4 COMMENTS

  1. Leaving an unreinforced stone rubble masonry wall with admitted crumbling mortar joints freestanding without any supportive bracing is asking for disaster. I smell a rat, called demolition by negligence.

  2. Not sure why media are reporting the address of the former bakery as 652 Princess St. This building is 668 and 670 Princess. 652 is the address of the new condos under construction next to this structure. The former TP Princess Nails, nighTlight and the like (building now demolished) were 664 and 666 Princess, respectively.

  3. The address in the media reports is wrong. The Carnovsky building is 668-670 Princess, the former nighTlight drop-in centre was 666, TP Princess Nails was 664 (both now demolished), the condo under construction is 652.

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