Vancouver fire officials and city engineers were called to the 400 block of Powell Street by Tom Chow, who owns a business on the same block.
Chow said he is in the process of buying the vacant property, but was shocked to discover the brick walls collapsing when he visited the building.
"The wall had collapsed inward....it had put such a pressure on the wooden frame...There was no support on the west side wall," he said.
Chow said he was scared to find the upstairs had sunk down about two or three inches and the windows were cracked.
Officials said the only thing holding the building up now is the structure next door.
Neighbours were escorted to their apartments to gather their personal belongings and BC Hydro has shut off electricity.
Fortis crews are at work digging up gas lines before the building is brought down.
Chow maintains he will probably still buy the property to expand his own business, even after the emergency demolition.
"If the city thinks it has to tear it down — tear it down.
"I was going to use it for the office....I guess I will have to rebuild the building."
Fire crews will likely begin demolition at the back of the building later on Wednesday.
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