It's not quite an eyesore, but for architectural fans and admires of the historic facades in our downtown, the disintegrating condition of the Petrie building has long been a sticking point. But good news! Today, it's been announced that Tyrcathlen Partners will be buying the building with an eye on renovating the heritage building.
According to the Guelph Mercury, the announcement of the deal came last night. Tyrcathlen Partners Kirk Roberts and Peregrine Wood have created a niche for themselves, renovating and restoring heritage buildings in Guelph including The Granary Building (on the other side of the tracks from Guelph Central Station) and Boarding House Arts (the former Civic Museum).
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to revitalize this truly unique local landmark and national heritage treasure," said Roberts in the announcement. "After almost 100 years it will be especially rewarding to see the upper floors come back to life."
The Petrie building was built by pharmacist A.B. Petrie in the late 19th century, and is notable for its stamped galvanized iron facade. Experts believe that the Petrie is the only remaining metal work facade in the country, and a few years ago it was named one of the most endangered properties in Canada (even though it was designated by the City of Guelph under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1990).
A public fundraiser to be held by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario will be held at a later date to help make money to put towards the renovations. The fate of the Apollo Eleven restaurant on the first floor is unknown, but the current owners of the Petrie Building are also the owners of the restaurant, so it seems likely that saving the Petrie will mean losing Apollo Eleven.
There's no word yet on when work to restore the Petrie building will begin, but the best place to keep updates is probably the Facebook page "Save the Petrie Building" established by archeologist and Guelph history guru, David J. Knight.
You can also check the following short documentaries produced by Angus McLellan of Ed Video Media Arts Centre, which was one of the groups instrumental in raising awareness about the need to save the building.
Demolition by Neglect (Documentary) from Angus McLellan on Vimeo.
Petrio- Three lenses on the Petrie Building from Angus McLellan on Vimeo.