Why keep it?

RogersDennisNSArchives (2)

Dennis Building about 1871, Rogers’ Photographic Album, courtesy NS Archives

Reasons to Keep the Historic T. & E. Kenny Dry Goods (Dennis) Building:

  1. “Magnificent granite warehouse”, work of David Stirling, the leading architect in Nova Scotia
  2. Classical style, with stringcourses and prominent cornices, complementing Province House
  3. Original owner, Sir Edward Kenny, knighted for leading Nova Scotian Catholics into Confederation
  4. Oldest building (1864) around Province House Square
  5. Reusing existing buildings is environmentally responsible
  6. Reusing this building would save taxpayers’ money


Architect William Hockey studied 54 projects on heritage buildings in Canada and found the average cost of rehabilitating a building for the same use was only 40% of the cost of replacing the building with a new one of the same size. (See attached.) The cost of rehabilitating the Dennis Building should be examined by a conservation specialist. The cost of a new building of this size would be about $10 million. If Mr. Hockey’s average applies, the cost of rehabilitating the Dennis Building would be about $4 million, saving $6 million.

The Economics of Intervention, William Hockey, Icomos Canada Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1993, p49. Extracts follow:

“I concluded buildings can be preserved economically.”

“Many projects save only the exterior of the building because the designers or owners are either unwilling or incapable of generating solutions that respect building fabric as a whole. The case studies using this approach, commonly known as facadism, had an average intervention cost about 90% of that to build a replacement facility at the time of the intervention. This is neither a cost-effective way to save a historic building, nor is it effective conservation. Although the street-scape remains, the heritage resource has been compromised.”

“Projects that adapt buildings for a new use, or rehabilitate them for the same use are generally cost-effective. The average cost of interventions for adaptive reuse case studies was about 55% of that of constructing a new replacement facility. The average cost of rehabilitation for the same use was 40% replacement cost.”



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