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Owner of Somerset House Would Rather Tear it Down, Build a Replica Building

November 16, 2018
Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

The owner of Somerset House, the ramshackle building at a landmark downtown intersection, says he wants to demolish it and construct something that reflects Centretown’s heritage.

“We want to tear down the building and build it how it looked,” Tony Shahrasebi said Friday of his property at the southeast corner of Somerset and Bank streets. “It’d look brand new, but old. It will last another 150 years.”

For years, and even up until recently, Shahrasebi has maintained that he wants to keep what’s left of the building for a redevelopment of the property. He has gone along with council’s wishes about keeping what’s left of the heritage-protected building, which was the home to the Duke of Somerset pub, after a partial collapse in 2007 during a construction project in the basement.

Council has accepted architectural concepts for a redevelopment, but there hasn’t been major work on the property to bring the drawings to life.

Shahrasebi, who also owns other properties around the downtown, said Somerset House has become a money pit and the only way to go about redeveloping the property is to start from scratch.

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