Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Character block spared from death

Once-elegant 52 Fawcett Ave. to rise from ruin

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A once-elegant turn-of-the-century apartment block in Wolseley has been spared from inevitable demolition and will soon be reborn in a blend of classic and modern style.

The building at 52 Fawcett Ave. -- which is tucked away at the end of the dead-end street off Maryland Avenue -- just sat there for years, slowly but steadily going from order to disorder.

But thanks to a joint venture by Toronto-based Square and Roof and Vancouver-based Sandhu Properties, efforts are under way to renovate and restore the 14-suite structure from top to bottom, with a display suite slated to be ready approximately a month from now.

The new name will be The Seven on Fawcett.

It's all about revitalizing a classic piece of architecture so it can once again be part of the fabric of a vibrant neighbourhood, says Square and Roof's designer, Alexis Duy.

"We're extremely excited about taking part in this project," she says. "To us, it represents an opportunity to merge classic and modern styles together. Once we renovate the building from top to bottom, and area residents see what the building looks like, our hope is that new life will be added to the neighbourhood through new residents, and through local homeowners being inspired by what we've done.

"Hopefully, they will incorporate some of the design elements they see us use into their own homes. As they do that, the look of the neighbourhood will improve, and the value of homes will go up that much more."

Sandhu Properties' Preet Sandhu concurs.

"We have a vision for Wolseley," he says. "We (Sandhu along with partner Jaskern Kalar, also of Vancouver) want to bring this building back to life so it can inject some added flavour into a community that already has so much character to offer."

Duy says that while the elegant, old-style exterior will be restored to its former glory, the 14 suites will feature design elements drawn from fashion hot spots such as Los Angeles and New York.

"Let's just say the theme will be something like the West Coast meets Manhattan. Flow in each suite will be revitalized through using a very open concept design that will be designed to give you the ability to close off areas if you want to create separation," she says. "In essence, each suite will be a functional, rather than remodelled, space. I've tried to do the design in such a way that it will appeal to a wide cross-section of buyers."

There will also be plenty of style to go along with that functionality, says Duy. Materials such as glass tile, two-tone hardwood floorings, granite counter tops and modern amenities such as stainless steel appliances will be incorporated into a design that will be coated in a lifestyle-based colour palette.

Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner, executive director of West End Biz, says the renewal of a Wolseley classic is music to her ears.

"This is awesome news," she says. "Renovation projects like these show a continuing interest in the area; people are rediscovering that it's a great place to live. Businesses and families are moving back into the area, demand (for homes) and prices are up, and the potential is there to truly revitalize the area.

"Projects like this are great because interest in improving a community snowballs. The restoration of the block at 52 Fawcett is only going to make Wolseley a better place to live in the long run."

The project's lead realtor, Century 21 Bachman & Associates' Greg Grewal, says The Seven on Fawcett represents an opportunity to enjoy the good things in life in one of Winnipeg's grand old neighbourhoods.

"Square and Roof is going to do what they do best -- provide people with beautifully renovated, well-appointed homes for a very reasonable price," he says.

Brian Hopkins, president of Square and Roof, says prospective buyers can expect to receive optimum bang for their buck when The Seven on Fawcett is completed.

"There are going to be new balconies, new plumbing, a new electrical system, and the building's interior will be pulled off to the studs to make way for a new interior with new fixtures from top to bottom. By the time construction is completed -- there will also be a fitness facility and other surprise bonus features -- a Wolseley classic is going to get a second life so it can become part of a great community once again."

lewys@mts.net

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 2, 2007 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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