The District of Kent is preparing the former Park Ave. Restaurant for demolition.
For Agassiz newcomers, the building on the corner of Pioneer Avenue and Park Street is little more than a run-down, seemingly abandoned former business. A peek in the window reveals broken dishes, an unswept floor, tables and chairs in disarray and signs for the latest specials, as if the owners simply got up and left without looking back.
Outside advertisements for “great food” and “family style comfort” are a stark contrast to the deteriorating infrastructure and lonely 1970s-style mod light fixtures hanging over the spaces where tables used to be.
It may be something of an eyesore now, but the asbestos-contaminated structure has a deep history in Agassiz. Online, locals have been sharing their stories about the little building, most of them from the time when it was owned by the Pang family.
Agassiz history records show that in 1912, the building was the Old Methodist Church. It would became Hadway’s Bakery in the mid-1940s, selling “very popular” maple bars to locals. The 1948 flood damaged the bakery so badly that the owners moved it to a new building in Agassiz. Mr. and Mrs. Pang purchased the space in 1975, opening the Agassiz Restaurant, or as locals called it, “Pang’s.”
Many years later, when the Pangs sold it to a new family, a no-occupancy order was put on the front door. The building has gone unused since.
Across Park Street at Pioneer Motors, Don Hardy has watched the building change. He has enjoyed many coffees and lots of great eats at the location, both when it was Hadley’s Bakery and Agassiz Restaurant, but says it has become an eyesore in recent years.
“We used to get coffee, hamburgers, Chinese food galore,” Hardy recalls. “It’s had its time. For the last 20 years if you dropped a marble on the floor, it would roll away – you’d never catch it,” he says with a laugh. “That’s got to tell you something.”
Hardy says some of the scenes for the 1992 drama Shame were filmed in the Agassiz Restaurant.
“Me and one of the mechanics got our picture taken with Amanda Donohoe,” he recalls.
According to director of development services Darcey Kohuch, current property owners were given a timeline to demolish the now structurally unsafe building. “They didn’t meet the timeline so the district is proceeding to remedial action – which means we will be carrying out the demolition,” he says.
Kohuch says the district hopes to complete asbestos removal by the end of November, with a full demolition occurring before the end of the year.
He says the land is currently for sale, and he hasn’t been made aware of any buyers.
“It’s a nice corner, so we would hope [for] some commercial space on the lower floor and residential on the upper floor,” he says adding, “that depends on the future property owner.”