A proposed redevelopment in the heart of Fredericton’s downtown is causing concern for local history buffs.Marcus Kingston, a heritage enthusiast says Fredericton has a dwindling stock of historic homes and says the Risteen building, located on the corner of Queen and Smyth Streets, needs to be saved.“In the last few years the current city council has approved many developments in the downtown in order to densify, but at the risk of our heritage,” said Kingston.Story continues below
The building is at risk of demolition or redevelopment, which would see the structure turned into a seven-storey apartment complex.The site was built by architect Anthony Lockwood in the 1820s, and it was the first stone-cut building in New Brunswick.READ MORE: Fredericton mayor to take concerns over Officers’ Square tree removal back to councilThe building was purchased by Bella Properties in January 2017. They sent a letter to tenants on Jan. 2, 2019, informing them they had to be out by Feb. 1.“It made me feel sad, of course, because we’ve been here a long time and moving a complete business is not something that I had really looked at,” said resident Ross Davidson.Davidson has been a tenant since 1996 and his restaurant equipment store will relocate March 1. The lengthy move won’t be easy and will cost him thousands of dollars.
Ross Davidson has been a tenant for over 20 years at the old Risteen Sash and Door Factory.Megan Yamoah / Global News“Look at what we have here, we have a lot of small items. You know there’s going to be a lot of packing and moving involved and then we’ve got large units here that have to be moved”, said Davidson.After a fire gutted the building in the 1870s, it was restored by Joseph Risteen. He turned it into the Risteen Sash and Door factory.
The site was built by architect Anthony Lockwood in the 1820s, and it was the first stone cut building in New Brunswick.Megan Yamoah / Global NewsThe speculation and threat of demolition have inspired Kingston to start a GoFundMe with a goal of $50,000.“Heritage belongs to us all and it shouldn’t just belong to the people that can afford it,” said Kingston.WATCH: Group protesting Fredericton development plans take concerns to tourism minister