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MacGillivray Properties plans new life for waterfront warehouse

Examples of some of the industrial furniture that Jamie MacGillivray hopes to see built at the riverside warehouse property recently purchased by MacGillivray Properties.
Examples of some of the industrial furniture that Jamie MacGillivray hopes to see built at the riverside warehouse property recently purchased by MacGillivray Properties. - Contributed

The warehouses by the East River in downtown New Glasgow are a piece of the scenery that can be taken for granted, sitting unused at the waterfront. That’s about to change.
Jamie MacGillivray, owner of MacGillivray Properties, said he doesn’t want to see old heritage structures in Pictou County get demolished, so MacGillivray Properties has purchased the old Maritime Steel facility.

While some of the facility is going to be demolished, the company has big plans for the old warehouse closest to the New Glasgow Farmers Market Cooperative building. MacGillivray Properties will be giving the partially demolished warehouse a facelift this summer, preparing it as an enhancement to the downtown business core.

“Our plans are mainly to save that building, and our hope is that we can use it as a workshop and a retail area, selling industrial furniture,” said MacGillivray. “I think it’s good to try and preserve old buildings, and find alternative uses for them. Once you clean them up and modernize some of the elements, they can be really nice.”

The workshop will be dedicated to both on-site, and online sales of furniture crafted from materials that will be designed to reflect the rough-around-the-edges industrial setting in which it will be assembled.
“We build a lot of it for our own use in St. John’s and Halifax and in our New Glasgow Office, so we have a skillset building that,” he added. “We want to make it a place to sell nice artisan furniture near the farmers market. We want to create custom workshops, not just for our business, but for other people as well. It’s a huge building, and we’ve seen that done in other places with those old buildings.”

In order to get the warehouse up to snuff, MacGillivray said it will be undergoing a thorough gauntlet of updates, with new windows, and efforts to modernize the exterior.
“We have our work cut out for us, since we have to replace all the windows, and we’ll be doing some demolition,” said MacGillivray. “It will probably take a year or two – it’s a long-term kind of thing. We’ll have some nice new windows on it before winter, and we hope to clean up the bricks and landscape the area.”

Another concern will be how to get rid of the many unofficial tenants: the feral cats.

MacGillivray acknowledged that will be challenging, given that “the cats have been using that place as their home.”

To begin with, the cats have been temporarily moved into an adjacent building that won’t be demolished until October.
“We’re going to work with interested parties – the people who feed the cats and look after them. We’re going to work with them to build more permanent housing,” said MacGillivray.
MacGillivray Properties has also agreed cover the costs of spaying and neutering the feral cats, and build “housing” to accommodate them.

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