Crown Plaza about to go – but please keep the cars out

Posted on December 12, 2011 by

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Demolition work is about to begin on the Crown Plaza Hotel on the corner of Durham and Kilmore streets. Once down (it will take 27 weeks) the basement is to be backfilled and the site eventually grassed over. Whether this is a permanent or temporary move remains to be seen, but is probably an interim measure until a future role for the site is decided. Prior to the hotel being built around 1988, Victoria Street continued through what is now the building site and Victoria Square to the Colombo/Armagh St intersection.

Personally, as I have said before, I disliked this building, mainly due to its location rather than aesthetic qualities – I always felt it made Victoria Square look unfinished, and made that end of it rather dark and isolated. So, I am rather pleased to see it go and think the opportunity should be used to enhance Victoria Square, perhaps with a piece of art or some other sort of structure on the corner, along with more grass, tress, and improved pedestrian access. In no way do I think a road should be put back through here. Victoria Square is a wonderful public space and should be preserved and enhanced, not degraded with the introduction of cars. There would be little benefit of having that road again, if any at all, and there is no obvious need for it anyhow.

I would be interested to know the land ownership details of the site – I am not sure if the hotel own it or not. Crown Plaza seem to have indicated there is no rush as yet on replacing the building, if at all, so it may be a good opportunity to take the initiative and make something great.

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