If you've gone by the corner of Gladstone and Kent over the last year, this would be a fairly familiar view to the north-west. The eight-storey apartment building with the scaffolding is at 80 Florence. In a three-part post, I'll share photos of the exterior renovations.
In this post, I'll go over some of the building's past, and how the top of the building used to look and progress of its renovation. In the next post, I'll take a closer look at the building's former ground-level architecture and streetscaping. In the third and final post, the big reveal of how the renovated building looks, with many before-and-after angles.
If you still need help orienting, here's another photo from Gladstone Avenue, showing the Avis car & truck rental place and the bus stop in front. 80 Florence is on the far side of the block. Kent is to the right of the photo, and on the other side of Kent is the former Main Garage/Stinson & Son, which is being redeveloped for the future Centropolis condos.
Built in the early 1980s, the formal name of the building is "Chinese Community Building". According the website of the architect for the current project, "The building suffered from a lack of vapour control and resulted in major delamination of the brick veneer and deterioration of the structural shelf angles." It also didn't have suitable ramp access for wheelchair users. A major renovation was coordinated, with funding from the City and from the Social Housing Renovation and Retrofit Program. As part of the renovations, the gymnasium was to be replaced with another use--this required a zoning by-law amendment.
Going a bit further back in time, I was able to find a couple shots of the previous building in my photo library. Unfortunately, they don't say much. This crop of the 1961 background image on this blog shows a blurry Kent and Florence. First United Church in the centre-right, and the 80 Florence site kitty-corner from it on the left. It looks like a 2-3 storey building.
In this 1951 shot of Kent Street before it was widened shows the ground level of the building, but most of it is obscured by trees.
The building was built in the early 1980s, but I can't find a source for exactly when. This advertisement in the Ottawa Citizen for the election of the Chinese Community Association of Ottawa (sponsored by the recently-closed Cathay restaurant) dates from June 1982, which puts construction before then.
Back to the recent past, here's a shot of the building from the Florence side in December 2009. The intersection of Florence and Kent is at left. You can see the black and white sign for the zoning application. It's an eight-storey building with balconies on all four sides. There's a three-storey podium on the Florence side, and a previously-described gymansium on the Kent side.
In early April, workers began putting up scaffolding on the West side of the building.
By late April 2010, the scaffolding reached the entire height of the building, and was covered in a green sheath. A fenced staging area extends over the sidewalk into the street. Most of the other buildings on the street are two-and-a-half-storey houses, though the Main Garage site will soon be redeveloped.
Various materials were delivered in May for installation on the building.
The new brickwork was added, starting at the top of the building. You can see four storeys are complete on the West side of the building here in early June. The end of the rows await the finishing of the North face.
More materials delivered--this time new windows for the units above. You can see the reflection of the First United Church, which is now the Chinese Canadian Heritage Centre.
A couple weeks later, and progress continues on the brickwork.
The South side was being done at the same time as the West side. The East side, like the North side, stood waiting its turn.
That came soon enough, and scaffolding began to rise at the end of June.
Nearly a month later, the scaffolding was halfway up the North and East sides of the building.
It would be all the way up by mid-August, though this photo of more windows being delivered is from early October 2010.
Stay tuned for the reveal of the new look, which will be in the third part of the series. The next post in the series will come soon, and will detail the same stages of construction as this post, but looking at the ground level.