Every March, Re/Max sales representative Karl Vanderkuip mails out his annual newsletter to clients, the media and other interested parties.
This year, he used the occasion to publicly announce his pending move to a new office, the old Leslie’s Pedicure building at Lake and Queen streets.
“Come by and see the renovations from start to finish,” he wrote in the newsletter that arrived on my desk Monday morning.
“We should be complete and moved in by June … Murphy’s Law notwithstanding!”
This past Saturday around 10:30 p.m. Vanderkuip received a call from Niagara Regional Police.
Turns out the old saw about what can go wrong will go wrong includes fire.
Vanderkuip was told his new office building was going up in smoke.
“Arriving on the scene you’re just numb,” said Vanderkuip of his experience Saturday night.
The Queen/Lake intersection looked like a movie set, he said. There was smoke, fire trucks and hoses everywhere, police cars, yellow perimeter tape and dozens of onlookers.
Amid the chaos, the fire department effectively went about its job, recalled Vanderkuip.
“It was very impressive. They got to the scene real quick because it could have easily gone to the ground.”
Still, the damage “is pretty bad,” he said. “To put a ball park price of upwards of $200,000 is probably more realistic than what they first reported in the paper ($50,000 to $75,000).”
The original building is about a century old, said Vankerkuip. An addition at the side was built in the 1960s; the one at the back was erected in the 1970s.
Leslie’s Pedicure set up shop in the early 1980s. Before that, the building housed Parkview Confectionery, a store specializing in Dutch goods.
Vanderkuip took possession of the property at the end of January.
Interestingly, the purchase was initially viewed as an real estate investment. He thought the “pretty cool, funky little building on the prettiest block in the city” would be an attractive leasing option for a business.
But the more he studied the building and its location (there’s an attractive parkette directly in front and Montebello Park across the road), Vanderkuip decided to make the ground floor his own workplace. The plans call for a residential unit on the upper floor.
He was scheduled to apply for a city building permit this week.
“Needless to say, those drawings are changing.”
The fire started in the back, likely in a small attached shed. The flames raced up the building and got into the attic and roof. The fire damage in these areas is extensive. There’s water damage throughout the building.
Vanderkuip had hoped the renovation would be done in a manner that would expose and showcase the building’s hardwood floors and interior brick.
That’s unlikely to happen now, although an old fireplace that was hidden behind drywall for years will still be in play.
Indeed, despite the building’s general state of disrepair and messiness,, Vanderkuip said he remains “as excited as” ever about his move to Queen St.
“We’re trying to build something really cool here.”
But it’s not going to happen by June.
“Now I’m hoping to get in there before Grape and Wine,” he said.
I’m guessing he won’t be issuing a newsletter with that projection, though.
No more messing with Murphy’s Law.
By Doug Herod, The Standard
Read the original article: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2013/03/19/predictably-something-did-go-wrong-with-new-office-plans
Our Two Cents:
Nice article by Doug. Life happens. We are still as passionate about the project as ever.