Brandon University is taking steps to preserve the heritage of the former Strand Theatre in downtown Brandon, with the doomed building set to come down by the end of March.
“The iconic Strand sign is in great shape and I am eager to see how our plans for downtown will reinterpret it in an entirely new context,” said Brandon University Interim President Steve Robinson. “I imagine it will be quite compelling to see the sign all lit it up again alongside the classic movie marquee.”
Along with the Strand sign and the marquee sign, BU will be removing and preserving many of the vintage wood joists from the structure.
“There are so many options for reusing the wood from these joists,” Robinson said. “We knew we couldn’t let them go to waste.”
Brandon University has partnered with the Brandon Sun to store the signage and salvaged wood.
“Our deep roots in the city make this a natural fit,” said Brandon Sun publisher Jim Mihaly. “We have chronicled the evolution of both Brandon University and the Strand Theatre from inception through today, and we are pleased to step in and play a part in this exciting development for downtown.”
Salvage of the historic elements from the former Strand theatre building begins as early as March 1, with demolition of the remaining structure immediately afterward. Brandon University has engaged Total Demolition to demolish the structure and also to evacuate and demolish the vacant basement underneath the old Brown Block property immediately to the south. Full backfilling and cleanup of the property could extend into late April.
Staging and preparatory work is nearly complete. To protect public safety during the demolition, both lanes of 10th Street will be closed to vehicles between Rosser Avenue and Princess Avenue, as will the southern portion of the laneway between 9th and 10th Streets. No parking will be permitted on the 100-block of 10th Street until the street is re-opened, however vehicles will be able to access and use the parking lot at the corner of 10th Street and Rosser Avenue throughout.
People will still be able to visit 10th Street businesses by foot, with full pedestrian access along the west side of 10th Street from Rosser to Princess, as well as partial access on the east side of 10th Street from Rosser Avenue to the start of the current Strand structure.
The street is expected to close as early as Thursday, March 1, and will reopen as early as March 30.
Demolition of the decaying former theatre will open up the final piece in the large parcel of land that Brandon University has assembled for downtown development.
Pre-development for the downtown initiative is wrapping up. It is planned to be largely residential, with up to 250 units, ideally a mix of student residences and seniors housing. Other components of the development being considered are retail or commercial spaces, academic and learning areas, and arts and cultural venues, including potentially a gallery space and a convertible theatre space.
For more information on Brandon University’s transformational downtown development, visit BrandonU.ca/Downtown.
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