04/02/2017 17:19 EDT | Updated 04/03/2018 01:12 EDT

Private developer interested in preserving Saint John's Jellybean Houses

A private developer in Saint John is offering to preserve the historic Jellybean Houses in Saint John that are facing demolition if a non-profit group can't afford to save them.

"I put all my own money into every single project I do. So, these projects require work, they require expertise, they require time and they require money. It's what I do for a living, I make money from it, so it's what I'm used to doing," said Andreas Holmes, the property developer. 

The brightly coloured Jellybean Houses have been neglected after nearly a decade of city ownership.

  • Historic jellybean houses likely unsalvageable

Janelle Russell is trying to convince the city to spare the buildings, and she has a petition with more than 1,000 signatures to support her efforts.  

"We want a fair bidding process. There's been a lot people who have shown interest and they're willing to put their own money into it," she said.

Saint John Non-Profit Housing has an option on the property, but said it would be too expensive to include the buildings in a new apartment complex.

  • Saint John offers Jelly Bean houses to non-profit group
  • Jelly Bean houses could be mixed-income apartment complex

As a result, the city, which has owned the buildings since 2008, approved plans in February for demolition by the end of April.  

Coun. Donna Reardon voted against those plans.

"There's 36 acres on the peninsula, across the street here, which are vacant. So there's lots of vacant spaces, like why take those buildings down?"

Holmes says the buildings are in better shape than some projects he's taken on before. He says he's going to ask the city to reconsider the demolition and allow him to save the Jellybean Houses.