The building is considered probably the last physical relic of the late premier Joey Smallwood’s efforts to industrialize Newfoundland.
The 60,000-square-foot concrete and glass structure sits on 6.71 acres of what the town says is prime real estate at the intersection of Conception Bay Highway and the Holyrood Access to the Trans-Canada Highway.
The plant was opened in 1954, but the town says by 1956, it became apparent that Superior Rubber Ltd. at Holyrood was not only poorly managed, but turned out defective boots with second-hand machinery. The factory was shuttered and left dormant and decaying, in the middle of town for the majority of the next 60 years.
“This is the key area for development in Holyrood today and I can tell you, it’s gratifying to see that old place finally come down,” Mayor Gary Goobie said in a news release. “Because of its location and footprint, it allows our town the unique opportunity to re-envision the downtown area -- basically build it from scratch -- benefiting from our history and what we’ve seen as best practices in other areas.”
The demolition is scheduled to be completed next month as part of an economic plan and phased approach to sustainable development. The town says the strategy focuses on attracting ocean technology companies, startups, innovators, researchers, students, and tourists – with the ultimate goal of making the town attractive to investors, professionals, and new families.
“While as a municipality, we are aggressive in our economic diversification strategy, we are always cognizant of retaining the natural beauty and small town charm that has drawn visitors to our shores for hundreds of years,” said Goobie.
The plan involves a commercial zone and industrial development, the town refers to as an Oceans Business Park.
“One thing is certain,” jokes Goobie, “this is where the rubber hits the road!”