Regina’s Old Sears “Bargain Center” Building Deemed Fire Hazard – Tenants Ousted

A building in Regina’s Warehouse district that is over 100 years old has been deemed to have too many “serious fire and life safety deficiencies” to remain open. Regina fire and protective services inspectors were called to the property after several complaints from the public. In a statement released to 620 CKRM by the city of Regina it was said that inspectors attempted to work with the owner of the property to fix the issues- but the owner has since made the decision to close the space and remove tenants instead.

Several small businesses occupy a portion of the 140,000 square foot building as part of Regina’s Centennial Market – those tenants have been given just a few weeks to leave.

In late 2019 the building became occupied by artists and craftspeople in an attempt to revitalize the building – at that time they had close to 200 vendors.

In a statement on social media – the centennial market said the closure was a sad one.

“Last week we had a visit from the Fire Marshall and City officials, who deemed the old building not up to Safety Code in so many areas. Whilst this is very sad news for us, it does present you, our customer, a perfect opportunity to pick up that bargain of a lifetime.”

The cost to retrofit the building and bring it to fire code has been estimated at more than $400,000.

“The owners have decided not to incur the cost of remediation and have put the building up for sale. The Fire Marshall understands that all our vendors will need to find alternative space, so has granted us permission to trade until the end of May, our last day of trading therefore will be Sunday May 26th 2024,” the market’s statement on social media read.

One person with knowledge of the situation spoke to CKRM on the condition of anonymity.

“We received an email last night (April 17th) saying we would have till the end of the month to vacate.”

This individual shared that a number of modifications and additions had been made to the building space and that those changes were part of the violations. Several of the tenants had built wooden structures in the space. One company doing extensive work and using exclusively wood for their builds – something that was not up to fire code this source was told.

“The sprinkler systems haven’t been serviced in properly – some tenants have built structures out of literal tree branches. It’s all in violation of fire and safety codes,” this individual said.

The historic Sears bargain center, originally constructed by Eaton’s in 1918, underwent a transition in the 1980s when Sears took over. However, in 2017, Sears shut down, leaving the building mostly empty.

Value Village and other tenants in the mall portion of the building remain unaffected.

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