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Landmark NDN building sold to local group of developers

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
May 12th, 2011

For decades the Nelson Daily News building on Baker Street was the physical landmark for the second oldest daily newspaper in the province.

It was a source of pride for many Nelsonites as they reveled in having the smallest centre in Canada with a published daily newspaper.

When that 109-year-old tradition ended in June of 2010 — after Black Press, who owns the Nelson Star, bought and closed the competing newspaper — the building was quickly vacated.

Although the newspaper and its historic offices were wiped clean within a few days after closing, the fate of the building was not determined — until now.

Black Press never bought the building, they only wanted to buy the NDN and The Weekender operations and close them; it took until now for Glacier Ventures — the former owner of the NDN and the building — to dispose of the building.

Late Wednesday NDN Partners Inc. announced they completed the purchase of the historic NDN building. The four shareholders in the partnership have a “close connection to Nelson,” and they said they have plans to renovate and expand the building.

Starting Wednesday the NDN Partners Inc. crew will begin renovating the building, remaining true and respecting its heritage charm and character.

“Our goal is to provide a high quality, professionally operated office building which is modern and efficient,” said NDN Partners president Greg Haydu.

In the second phase, a planned expansion for the property includes adding a floor to the building to accommodate a small condominium strata development. Some of the units will be wheel chair accessible.

The strata development will include planted terraces and “spectacular views,” said Haydu.

“The development is consistent with the City of Nelson’s planning and development strategies which include higher density housing in the downtown core,” he said.

He predicted the project would use local consultants, engineers and trades people, keeping the work as local as possible.

“Our vision for the building and property is that it will be an aesthetically pleasing, architecturally advanced gateway to Baker Street. Upon completion, we are confident the development will be a landmark property in Nelson.”

Just like when the Nelson Daily News newspaper occupied it.

Putting to rest the rumours

It was one of the worst kept secrets in Nelson.

Rumours had been circulating up and down Baker Street and in coffee and barber shops for weeks the NDN building had been sold.

Coun. Bob Adams is happy the rumours can be put to rest.

“I’m glad the sale has been completed, and to someone locally,” Adams told The Nelson Daily late Wednesday after being informed the transaction had been completed.

Nelson Mayor John Dooley was out of town and unavailable for comment.
NDN Partners Inc. is a small corporation of four shareholders, all with ties to the Heritage City.

“This is a great idea for downtown and is exactly what the C1 zoning, office space on the first floor and apartments on the second floor,” Adams said. “It certainly helps our goal to reduce greenhouse gas by having people live in the downtown core.”

NDN Partners purchased the building from the Glacier Media Group in Vancouver.
The former owners purchased the building, along with the Nelson Daily News, from Hollinger Group, whose founders were Conrad Black and David Radler.

In June 2010, Glacier Media Group sold the Nelson Daily News to Black Press. The Victoria-based newspaper chain quickly closed the NDN after 109, or 120 years old, depending whether you count its earliest incarnation as the Nelson Miner putting most of the staff out on the street.

However, Black Press did not want to purchase the building.

Adams said the sale and renovations should spruce up the west end of Baker Street that has seen a decline in business in the past few years.

The Nelson Daily News closed in 2010. In January 2008 the Esso gas station closed and was demolished and in last 2007 a fire gutted the Savoy Hotel, which has since been vacant.

No sale price was divulged in the press release.

— with files from Bruce Fuhr.!/TheNelsonDaily

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