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In its heyday it housed boilers that provided heat to much of downtown London. Now a century-old industrial building on Queens Avenue is about to become the next battleground in the fight between heritage preservation and parking.

City staff are recommending council refuse an application to demolish 123 Queens Avenue and put an interim parking lot in its place.

The building has now been sitting empty for at least nine years. It was last secured in 2010, according to a city report.

While it has been left to deteriorate, city planners say it is still structurally sound, meaning it could be salvaged if someone were willing to make the investment.

As it stands, the parged concrete walls at the rear and the east side are peeling off, the majority of windows are open and have not been boarded up, and the alleyway on the west side is littered with building refuse.

Mike Bloxam, past president of the London branch of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario calls it another case of “demolition by neglect.”

He says the city needs rules with more teeth to prevent historically significant buildings from falling apart.

The building is located within the Downtown Heritage Conservation District.