A tour of the Mill Street renovation project

Readers may know that Stephen Brathwaite and his partners have been renovating the upper floors of their block of buildings on Mill Street, which include ground floor tenants Baker Bob’s, Tin Barn Market, Doree’s Habit and Kentfield Kids.

Yesterday I spent an hour touring the buildings with Stephen to see what’s going on.

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Much of the space above the ground floor has been essentially derelict for decades. This photo I took in 2014 shows part of it after renovations began:

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Since then the three buildings have been joined by a central ‘spine’ through their upper floors, and stairwells and entrances are being rejigged. Once this phase of the renovation is done the space will contain at least 10 separate units, for either commercial or residential uses. The architect for the project is Arnprior’s Richard White, a specialist in designing sustainable buildings.

The structures have been reinforced with steel and feature radiant floor heating in poured concrete. An elevator will be added to the rear of the buildings, and Stephen and his partners are contemplating the addition of a glass-walled atrium there as well, facing the river.

The street-facing side of the buildings once again looks largely as it did a century ago, especially with the re-creation of the gingerbread balcony that formerly graced 65 Mill Street.

Two of the units are finished and have commercial tenants, while renters have already committed to the others. Longer term, these units may be of interest to investors and permanent owners.

Stephen adds:

Credit where credit is due.

This project would not have happened if Bob McKay (McKay Roofing) had not been willing to become involved. Bob has retired and sold his business. I called him for advice regarding a leaking roof that we (Marc Lefebvre and myself) couldn’t afford to fix at the quoted prices. Ceiling tile was falling in on Kentfield Kids during rain storms. Bob not only gave advice, he showed up a few days later and redid the roof at less than half the cost of the lowest bid and shortly after agreed to become a principal partner. His energy and ideas renewed us and got the project on track. It’s easy for me to be the face on the street. The partners that are the backbone of these efforts in the downtown are critical to what has gone on.

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Brian Hargeaves’ Two Mills photography studio
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New opening in a brick wall.
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View from the third-floor balcony
View from a unit under construction.