A stalemate over the future of a row of buildings on the South leg of King Street in Gore Park has been eased. Hughson Business Space, headed by Dave Blanchard will initially build 14 condo units on the site while attempting to maintain the facades of two of the buildings. This would be a first step in a plan that would ultimately see a five story condominium tower and ground level retail in the block. The deteriorating buildings had been boarded up after the city slapped the property with a heritage designation four years ago after initially granting a demolition permit. The matter has been appealed to the Conservation Appeal Board. That appeal is not likely to be heard for many months. In the meantime the plan is to work towards getting all of the necessary approvals in place to allow the full redevelopment to take place. Staff hope that at the end of the process the developer will obtain his building permits in exchange for dropping the appeal of the heritage designation. Sources familiar with the project say the offer to try to preserve facades was essentially what the developer offered from the outset of the dispute four years ago. The delays have reportedly resulted in consultant, architect and legal fees in excess of $500,000.

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