Owners of fire-damaged commercial building giving it a facelift
Ten years after a fire shut down the building, work is finally being done to put some life back into 17-21 Broadway.
This fire-damaged building on Broadway in Corner Brook may see new life after 10 years. — Photo by Jamie Bennett/The Western Star
The 18,000-square-foot building housed a trio of nightclubs, including the Studio, and an adjoining restaurant when a fire broke out in the early morning hours of May 26, 2004.
No cause was ever determined, but the fire department at the time said flames were located in a walled cavity and it was suspected the fire had started in the southwest corner of the building’s basement level. Whatever the cause, the result of the fire was heavy smoke and water damage to the whole structure.
Other than a paint job a few years ago, not much has been happening with the damaged building.
The property is owned by a company named Daynes Enterprises Ltd., which is listed as being owned by Kathleen Watton. Her husband, Graham Watton, is the company’s legal counsel. He said there has been work done on the inside and outside and more is to come soon.
Watton said the interior of the building has been completely stripped down to its concrete and studs with the hopes of finding new occupants for the space available.
There has been talk that the structural integrity of the building was compromised by the fire and the effort to extinguish the flames. Watton said work is being done to make the building usable.
“The internal structure of the building is sound,” he said, adding some of that work is still to be finished.
The owners will soon be seeking interest in a joint venture to operate the building and tenants who want to rent space on a long-term basis.
Watton said one option is for the building to be turned into a boutique hotel. That concept could include 15-20 suites, along with a restaurant, lounge, wellness/fitness centre, conference meeting room, beauty salon and several specialty shops.
Another vision for the property would be to transform it into a mini mall, similar to one further up the street on Broadway or in the Goodhouse Building on West Street.
That idea would see a combination of retail space, a restaurant or lounge on the ground and basement levels, and office suites on the second storey.
The structure, which is approximately 61 years old, could also be converted into a commercial and residential condominium complex.
Watton said there has been some interest from potential clients to turn the place back into a nightclub, but that’s not something the owners want to see.
“We’d just as soon stay away from that,” he said. “There are enough of those on Broadway now.”
The owner is holding off on doing internal renovations until tenants can be found.
However, if that doesn’t happen soon, some inside structural work may begin.
“If we don’t get a tenant in the next couple of months, we may start renovating the first floor and do something with it,” said Watton.
While waiting to see what interest is in the community to develop the property, the owners will give the drab-looking exterior a facelift by painting it and cleaning up the property.
The external beautification effort may extend to an old house directly behind the former bar, although it has a different owner.