Fire-damaged building may finally be repurposed

Gary Kean
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Work is being done on this building on Broadway after a fire shut it down 10 years ago.

Ten years after a fire shut down the building , work is finally being done to put some life back into 17-21 Broadway.

The 18,000-square foot building housed a trio of nightclubs, including the Studio, and an adjoining restaurant when a fire broke out in the early morning hours of May 26, 2004.

No cause was ever determined by the police investigation, but the fire department at the time said flames were located in a walled cavity and it was suspected the fire had started in the southwest corner of the building’s basement level. Whatever the cause, the result of the fire was heavy smoke and water damage to the entire structure.

Other than a paint job a few years ago, not much has been happening with the damaged building.

The property is owned by a company named Daynes Enterprises Limited, which is listed as being owned by Kathleen Watton. Her husband Graham Watton is the company’s legal counsel. He said there has been work done on the inside and outside and more is to come soon.

Watton said the interior of the building has been completely stripped down to its concrete and studs with the hopes of finding new occupants for the space available.

There has been talk that the structural integrity of the building was compromised by the fire and the effort to extinguish the flames. Watton said work is being done to make the building usable again.

“The internal structure of the building is sound,” he said, though he added some of that work is still to be finished.

The owners will be soon be taking out newspaper advertisements seeking interest in a joint venture to operate the building and tenants who want to rent space on a long-term basis.

Watton said one option is for the building to be turned into a boutique hotel. That concept could include 15-20 suites, along with a restaurant, lounge, wellness/fitness centre, conference meeting room, beauty salon and several specialty shops.

Another vision for the property would be to transform it into a mini-mall, similar to the one further up the street on Broadway or in the Goodhouse Building on West Street. That idea would see a combination of retail space, a restaurant or lounge on the ground and basement levels, and office suites on the second storey.

The structure, which is approximately 61 years old, could also be converted into a commercial and residential condominium complex.

Watton said there has been some interest from potential clients to turn the place back into a nightclub, but that’s not something the owners want to see.

“We’d just as soon stay away from that,” he said. “There are enough of those on Broadway now.”

The owner is holding off on doing any internal renovations until tenants can be found. However, if that doesn’t happen soon, some inside structural work may begin.

“If we don’t get a tenant in the next couple of months, we may start renovating the first floor and do something with it,” said Watton.

While waiting to see what interest is in the community to develop the property, the owners will be giving the drab-looking exterior a face-lift by painting it and cleaning up the property.

The external beautification effort will hopefully extend to an old house located directly behind the former bar, although it has a different owner.

Organizations: Daynes Enterprises

Geographic location: Broadway, West Street

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Recent comments

  • Julia
    June 14, 2014 - 12:06

    I think it should be turned into an apartment building.. But a nice low rate . Something like housing.. Theres alot of people in corner brook that much rather be closer to the malls so they dont need to be paying so much for transportion .. When your on welfare its really hard to pay tons of money for an apartment plus keep whoever is in your home going plus then all the money.. I think we have enough hotels and deffently enough resterants!! Instead of wasting such valuable space on bars and places to eat how about having places to live .. The homeless rate is going up because no one can afford anything around here anymore!!!

    • Concerned
      June 14, 2014 - 19:05

      There are lots of places hiring in the city. Instead of complaining about being on welfare and the price of housing, you should look to improve your life and generate an income. Broadway does not need welfare housing in the heart of our city!

    • pb
      June 14, 2014 - 19:44

      Have to disagree with you Julia, Corner Brook does need more hotel rooms.

    • Jeff
      June 15, 2014 - 07:22

      You expect a private investor to put their own money into this and use it as low rentals? Last i checked that's the governments job using the working mans tax dollar. Maybe its time to go back to food stamps , whatever happened to getting the necessities of life? Everywhere i look its ski-doos, quads , etc parked in front of low rentals, its pretty safe to say that welfare didn't buy those toys so where did the money come from? You want things in life go to school and get an education and work for it , instead of looking for handouts. I like what is being proposed for the old "Studio" it would be a nice reward for working hard all week.

    • also very concerned
      June 17, 2014 - 10:42

      “I think we have enough hotels and deffently enough resterants!! Instead of wasting such valuable space on bars and places to eat how about having places to live ..” Julia, your comments are disturbing and shortsighted. It may be time for you to make significant changes in your life. I will agree that housing prices/cost of rent have been spiraling out of control for the last number of years... however converting this building into apartments in this section of the community would be highly inappropriate (Dulux Paints building was bad enough). Corner Brook is definitely suffering because it doesn’t have enough hotel rooms. Many conferences have to look to larger cities/towns to host small and medium sized conferences because there isn’t anything large enough here. The hotel idea sounds interesting… however the building isn’t large enough (and it would be just better to demolish what is there and start from scratch anyway). The buildings close proximity to existing bars wouldn’t make for a very restful sleep though. Do what every other Canadian city does.... Retail on the street level and office space above it.

  • CBguy79
    June 14, 2014 - 10:53

    Back in the day the Studio and the Rec Room was the spot..Was there every weekend and on cheap nights haha.Rec Room for pool and live music..i miss that place.Half old and married with kids now and maybe been to the bar 4 times sense it closed,no other bar could take its place for us.But seeing something else there now besides a bar would be nice for broadway