Photo of derelict Preston Springs Hotel

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig isn’t ready to give up on the old Preston Springs hotel.

Council has approved a committee to work with the building’s developer and investigate the possibility of putting affordable housing into the structure.

The landmark building has stood at the corner of King Street West and Fountain Street North since the 1890s. Current owner Paul de Haas of Haastown Holdings purchased the building in 2012. He considered its development for use as a boutique hotel, seniors’ apartments or condo units, none of which have been realized.

“The idea is to meet with the developer and see what can be done in terms of supporting him to make sure the building is saved or possibly looking at affordable housing because the restrictions on that property make it difficult for other types of development,” said Craig.

The property does not have the parking necessary to convert the building into condos or commercial units, he said.

Craig would like to see people in safe living conditions and in an area with easy access to transit, the city core and commercial areas. With about 400 individuals and families on a waiting list for housing, he imagines one- and two-bedroom and some larger units in the building could satisfy a variety of requirements.

“I don’t think anyone here in the city or on council wants to see that building in any way taken down or demolished. Our concern is that it is open to vandalism and the possibility of fire,” Craig told CBC News.

Another option the committee is looking at is preserving the façade of the building and erecting new construction behind.

“But that would be up to the committee and the developer to come back to council and report on where we are going with this project.”

July 1 report

The committee, composed of Councillors Donna Reid (Chair), Mike Mann, Pam Wolf and Regional Councillor Karl Kiefer have until July 1 to report.

“That’s my recommendation but if they need more time, I don’t think that matters at this point because this is such an important building for the citizens of Cambridge and the citizens of the Preston area in particular.