It’s sounds like it’s going to be a slow process, but efforts to bring a piece of Kingston history back to life are starting to pick up steam.
You may recall that a heritage building in the city’s midtown collapsed on Christmas Day of last year. Work is now underway to rebuild the limestone structure, happening at the corner of Princess and Victoria streets in Williamsville District. It’s actually a re-assembling of the former Karnosfski Bakery, a heritage-protected limestone landmark.
Darryl Firsten is president of IN8 Developments, the property’s owner.
“It’s a very painful process rebuilding it,” Firsten said. “So we’re going to do it — we’re going to do it right. I got to be honest, (we will) probably spend as much time working on this as building the massive building behind it, just for perspective.”
And even more perspective: the re-build is like a giant jig-saw puzzle, and hundreds of pieces surround the area. The building collapsed early Christmas morning 2020, and IN8 Developments was in charge of preserving the heritage structure. An investigation by the city cleared the company of any wrongdoing.
Firsten talks about that wintery day a handful of months ago.
“What happened unfortunately was an act of God, probably. There was about 150 per cent of the usual annual rainfall that would happen in December happened that one night in a few hours,” Firsten said.
“The foundation was extraordinarily deep, pretty much just sand and it just washed it away. The walls were uneven and collapsed right underneath it.”
Workers are currently forming up the footings where the walls will eventually stand. And like any project of this kind, there’s certainly a price.
“It’s a pretty big number,” Firsten said. “This is probably a seven-figure rebuild. It’s most painful because we’ve already spent all the money.
“I don’t know if people saw, but re-did those walls that collapsed. Like we spent pushing close to half a million dollars re-facing those walls and fixing them up and then they collapsed after we spent that amount of money. So a lot of money in total but we’ll have a great product when this is done.”
Firsten says they’re hoping to have construction complete by early fall of this year.