This is on the SW corner of Pembroke and Government Streets. There are two buildings, a 1939 corrugated metal industrial and a 1914 building that was once the BC Electrical Trolley repair shop. They are being rehabbed into a mixed use (retail, office, residential) complex.
It received unanimous support from the Burnside Gorge CA and from Council today at CotW. It is just a couple of blocks outside Downtown in the Rock Bay neighbourhood.
The architect is Bradley Shuya and the primary tenant will be Knappett Projects.
Robert Randall's blog
Knappett transforms derelict Pembroke building into a jewel
Derelict building transformed into a jewel
By Carla Wilson, Times ColonistJune 19, 2009
At the new office of Knappett Projects Inc. on the corner of Pembroke and Government St. John Knappett is renovating the city's former streetcar repair building to become his new office. He has plans to revitalize the entire corner.
The old building newly decked out in yellows, golds and blues stands out like a jewel among run-down properties, shabby fencing, weeds and dirt parking on Pembroke Street.
As owner John Knappett surveys one of Victoria's oldest industrial areas, he sees the future.
Changing a building's character changes the character of a neighbourhood, he said, as workers put finishing touches on 555 Pembroke St., the environmentally friendly, new head office of Knappett Projects Inc., general contractors and civil engineers. "This area will be redeveloped over the next 10 years."
Knappett is not the first person to fix up an old building for modern use -- the downtown core is known for its heritage properties. But he has jumped an invisible boundary to make a major investment in a sorry-looking block on the north end of downtown.
And as one property is improved, others may follow. A few blocks south, Chintz and Co., at 1720 Store St., was an early anchor in a part of town now called the "design district" for its many home-improvement stores. It's also where residents live in trendy condos and citizens go to popular restaurants.
Sasha Angus, economic development officer with the Greater Victoria Development Agency, said, "It is a tremendous opportunity for all sorts of development."
Ken Kelly, general manager of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, praised Knappett for showcasing the area's potential: "He's breathing new life into it."
Kelly, too, expects downtown to expand as older buildings are renovated around Rock Bay. "This is good. This is still in the physical context of the downtown."
Downtowns and communities are not static, but are in a "perpetual state of change, evolution and enhancement," Kelly said.
In late 2007, Knappett bought the derelict, boarded-up, fire-damaged building and its neighbour at the corner of Government and Pembroke streets.
It was one parcel and marketed as a "tear-down."
Knappett saw something others didn't. "When I walked in and saw the concrete structure, I thought, 'This is something worth saving.' "
The 1915 concrete building was once B.C. Electric Co.'s maintenance shop for the trolley cars that ran along city streets.
The next-door 1939 building was headquarters for United Engineering for many years. Plans have not been developed for that building, but an extensive environmental cleanup has been carried out on the site.
In the earlier building's heyday, trolley cars rolled through the front entrance to the rear of the property for repair. Original detailing above the main entrance has been included in the upgrade. Entry doors are made of century-old, salvaged, edge-grain Douglas fir, where Knappett plans to mount the brass name plate from his grandfather's old tool box.
Stair treads are reclaimed maple from a Cowichan Valley firm, with stainless steel inlay -- part of the building's contemporary, open-plan design, including exposed original concrete. Today, eight staff are to move in, leaving a smaller building in Saanich, and there's plenty of room for more.
The 4,500-square-foot building has been revitalized to emphasize environmental responsibility and quality, making a statement about "what we are as builders," Knappett said.
Each office has high-efficiency, double-hung windows that open. Knappett wanted a natural ventilation system instead of a forced-air system.
Tom Wilson, of AME Group consulting engineers, said the aim was to minimize mechanical systems.
"It's all Mother Nature."
The building's internal environment will be managed with features including fresh-air vents on the ground floor, high-efficiency heat pumps, an upper-level fan (the building originally used a fan, too), and an in-floor hydronic heating and cooling system.
The goal is to earn gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the Canada Green Building Council.
"It is the kind of building I always wanted to work out of," Knappett said.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
| || |
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|