Chief Building Official calls for demolition of former Preston Springs Hotel due to public safety risk

Posted on Wednesday January 22, 2020

The City’s Chief Building Official issued an Order to Remedy an Unsafe Building today, under authority of the Building Code Act, which calls for the demolition of the vacant building at 102 Fountain Street South.

“We recognize that this building is a community landmark and this decision has not been made lightly,” said Dennis Purcell, the City’s Chief Building Official. “However, public safety is our first priority and there is no other option but to issue the Order to demolish.”

Recent assessments of the building by two independent engineering firms, both with heritage experience, have determined that the building is in very poor condition which will lead to structural failure.  The reports indicate that restoration of the building to meet minimum safety standards presents significant and costly challenges which are not guaranteed to fix the safety concerns.

The findings of both reports demonstrate that the building is now in an advanced state of deterioration and decay.  This has led to the loss of much of its historical potential as well as rendering the existing structure unsafe and potentially dangerous. The Chief Building Official has therefore determined that demolition is the only appropriate action to protect public safety.  The owner has until February 5, 2020 to apply for a permit for the demolition.

The building, known as the former Preston Springs Hotel, has been boarded up and vacant for over 25 years. The City has endeavored to work with several owners and multiple proposals to restore the troubled building but finding a solution has proved complicated and cost-prohibitive. 

Over the course of that time, there have been significant issues in terms of vandalism, trespassing, and keeping the building secured. These problems have further contributed to the condition of the property.  Numerous public complaints and concerns have been received over the years by the City, Cambridge Fire and the Waterloo Regional Police Service.

A detailed report will be brought to City Council next Tuesday (January 28, 2020).  At that time, the Chief Building Official will recommend that Council issue a notice of intent to remove the designation of the building under the Ontario Heritage Act to allow for demolition to begin. This will allow a 30 day period for input from the public and the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.

The owner will be encouraged to submit a salvage plan to ensure that any historical value left in the building can be saved.  The City’s heritage staff will work with the owner to find potential options to pay tribute to the history behind 102 Fountain Street South and the former Preston Springs Hotel.


Primary Media Contact

Susanne Hiller
Director of Corporate Communications
Office of the City Manager
City of Cambridge