Essex council has decided to demolish a building in the town’s centre because of costs and safety concerns.

Crews are starting to tear down the structure at 49 Talbot Street North. Mayor Ron McDermott says Gagnon Demolition of McGregor will begin dismantling the upper floor of the three-storey building.

“It’s very unfortunate,” says McDermott. “We really didn’t have an idea of how bad the building could be.”

Council made the decision to tear it down late Wednesday after a full assessment of the situation. A large panel of stucco at 49 Talbot St N fell and landed on the roof of 47 Talbot on April 4.

The town ordered the closure of 47 Talbot, 49 Talbot and 51 Talbot on Tuesday.

The buildings on either side - Deluxe Restaurant and 2 Waves Day Spa - are not included in the demolition work.

“Public safety is of the utmost importance,” says McDermott. “We hate to see a landmark building like this one come down, but we’re confident that this is the right decision.”

McDermott says the high costs associated with repairing the building could not be justified, given the age and condition of the structure. The building is at least 60 years old, but parts of it could be much older.

Demolition is expected to take two to three weeks to complete and may limit access to the public sidewalk and the number of parking spaces available in that block of Talbot Street.