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Green Lantern building still shines

After Sue Uteck raises questions over the future of the Keith Building, city smooths out owner Webber's preservation frustrations.

The historic Green Lantern building on Barrington Street will not be coming down after all.

Halifax councillor Sue Uteck raised eyebrows at a recent council meeting when she said she had received an email from Green Lantern owner Jeff Webber expressing frustration with the city's historic preservation efforts. "He's given up on it, and is going to tear it down," said Uteck. The building was damaged by Hurricane Juan.

But Webber has not returned a call for comment, and city staffer Bill Plaskett says Webber's frustrations have been "smoothed over." Next month, Plaskett will be bringing a recommendation to council that outlines city financial assistance in shoring up the Green Lantern facade, and for deferred tax payments for interior renovations. Plaskett declines to give details of the proposal until council sees it, but says there's enough money available to accomplish the job.

The Green Lantern is more properly known as the Keith Building, named after the Gordon and Keith furniture, carpet and piano store that occupied the building after its construction in 1896. From 1917 through the 1960s, the Green Lantern restaurant occupied the ground floor, a space later rented by the Party House bar and now by Pogue Fado. The Granville Street side of the building, now home to Tribeca, was once the site of Critic's Choice video store. "Critic's Choice is mentioned in a song on the third disk of Joel Plaskett's new CD," points out Bill Plaskett, father of Joel.

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