Another historic building in downtown Red Deer is slated for a facelift and a re-purposing.
Sunworks owners Paul Harris and Terry Warke, and two other partners, have purchased the two-storey red brick building that most recently housed the Loonie Lane store at 4915 Little Gaetz Ave. (50th Avenue)
Along with One Eleven Grill owners Patrick Malkin and Mahziar Peyrow, Harris and Warke plan to renovate the 1938 structure that was originally built to house the Metropolitan department store downstairs and office space upstairs.
Their goal is to create six condos on the second floor and space for a restaurant or retail business at street level.
They also plan to give the building more of a 1930s front. This will entail adding wrought iron faux balcony railings below the upper windows, and replacing the awning with one with more of a vintage look.
The only aspect of the renovation that won’t harken back to the pre-war era is a roof-top deck, which the partners are planning to landscape with a container garden to give the condo owners some outdoor space.
Harris, who doesn’t yet know the project’s final budget, said plans must still go before the city’s municipal planning commission for approval.
But he hopes for a summer construction start on the condos, which will include some one-bedroom and bachelor units.
He anticipates the residences and building’s exterior renovation will be completed by the end of the year.
The configuration of the downstairs space will take longer to develop.
It will hang on which kind of business is interested in moving in, said Harris, who’s open to the idea of a store or food services operation. He promised, “It won’t be office space.”
The building became a surplus store in the 1960s, then was the site of North Star Sports before becoming a dollar store.
Harris said he and Warke were approached about the purchase by the previous owner, who was impressed with their other downtown rejuvenation projects.
The partners pushed the redevelopment of several buildings, including The Scott Block.
Harris, a Red Deer city councillor, believes in the concept of keeping a downtown vibrant by ensuring that more people live there.
He and Warke had previously revealed plans for a six-storey Swerve condo project for further north on Little Gaetz. But Harris indicated on Tuesday that the larger project is on hold until the economy strengthens.
“It’s still not the right time,” he said.