N.S. gunman's former home to be demolished: developer
DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- Two Halifax-area developers plan to demolish the former Dartmouth home and office of the gunman who killed 22 people last April.
Elliot MacNeil and Troy Grant successfully bid on the Portland Street property for $1.5 million -- which was $300,000 higher than its initial listing price – and they plan to replace it with a 150-unit apartment complex.
"We were extremely pleased to hear we acquired the property through the provincial bidding process," said MacNeil.
"Our team, along with the rest of the province, wants to see the existing structure demolished as soon as approval is granted. It has been extremely triggering for our community."
It's welcome news for the victims' families, and those who live and work near the building.
Sandra McCulloch, the lawyer representing the victims' families, said demolishing the current structure is the only option.
"There's absolutely no call for any reminders of the gunman and the life that he left behind," she said.
Money earned through the sale of the property will go to Gabriel Wortman's estate.
The families are suing his estate for damages.
"It's encouraging to hear that the property sold for more than it was essentially listed for, but ultimately it would be our position that those funds — they ultimately belong to the gunman's victims," McCulloch said.
The developers had their eyes on this property long before it went up for sale. In 2017, they bought two lots behind Wortman's property and, in November 2020, they bought the lot beside it.
Grant said there was an ongoing negotiation with Wortman for about a year to buy the properties, and the two sides reached a verbal agreement shortly before Wortman went on a shooting rampage, killing 22 people.
The developers hope to demolish it soon.
"The faster it's down, the quicker it's in history and that's what we want to do," he said.
Sam Austin, the Halifax Regional Councilor for Dartmouth Centre, said he's glad to see the building change hands.
"It's one I worried that might sit empty for a long, long time," Austin said. He also notes the proposal for a 150-unit apartment complex fits with the HRM's Centre Plan, which aims to bring more people to the urban cores.
"Someone buying this property with the aim of putting a bunch of, a multi-storey apartment building of some sort here, that's very much in keeping with what the plan says. It's just a matter of working out the specific dynamics," Austin said.