HomeAPM honoured by Downtown Charlottetown Inc.

APM honoured by Downtown Charlottetown Inc.

Feb 16 2014

Best known as the Kays Bros. Building, the iconic structure on 45 Queen Street was built in 1872 by Lemuel Owen and William Welsh.
Lemuel Owen (1822-1912) was a Prince Edward Island shipbuilder, banker, merchant and politician. He was the Island’s Post-master-General before entering politics and would become Prince Edward Island’s second premier (1873-1876).William Welsh (1822-1905) was a prominent merchantman, ship owner and politician in Prince Edward Island. He represented Queen’s County in the Canadian House of Commons from 1887 to 1896 and a member of PEI’s Legislative Assembly from 1873 to 1878.

Throughout the building’s history, the building was home to newspapers and important local retail and commercial activities like a telegraph office, a commercial college and a Chamber of Commerce. But as mentioned earlier, the building has been always been best known for the wholesale grocery businesses it held (J.T. Peardon’s, R.E. Mutch and Company and finally the Kays Brothers Wholesale – where between 1962 and 2009 the Kays family ran a wholesale business out of the space).

Certainly, as we all know, the name, the “Kays Brothers” and the building has held a special place in Charlottetown’s city scape; the building has been an influential and iconic landmark for not only the city’s downtown but its entirety as well as the Province of Prince Edward Island and in the hearts of Islanders.

However, over the years, it had fallen victim to three fires and although the exterior managed to stay intact, it reached a state of deterioration so severe that it was slated for demolition. In fact, to raise community support for its preservation based on its historical significance to the Island, the Heritage Canada Foundation listed the Kays Bros. Building as one of its Top Ten Endangered sites in the country.

Thankfully, the Charlottetown and Area Development Corporation (the CADC) purchased the property from the Kays family in 2009 to ensure everything possible would be done to restore the building and not be demolished. And indeed, after several engineering reports on the building’s soundness, and several interested buyers, Tim Banks and his team at APM purchased the property in the summer of 2012.

Since this time, APM has done a remarkable restoration job. The following are some highlights of renovations that were performed:
On the building exterior:

• The exterior brick was repointed and reinforced.
• All exterior windows were replaced with new custom wood windows.
• The storefront on Queen Street was rebuilt.
• A new insulated roof was added on top of the existing wood roof deck.

On the building interior:
• All of the interior footings were replaced to meet modern codes.
• The existing crawl space was cleaned up and filled in.
• The wood posts on the ground level were replaced with new wood posts designed to meet code.
• The upper floors were leveled and reinforced.
• Interior brick was rehabilitated and left exposed wherever practical.
• The interior brick bearing wall was repaired.
• Modern code compliant stairs and washrooms were added.
• Concrete topping was added on all floors.

The stunningly restored brick façade has new custom windows that were built to heritage standards and extraordinarily, not a single new brick was used, as crews were able to salvage brick from new door openings that were placed in the interior walls.

In addition to the complete restoration of this building, and with the co-operation of the City of Charlottetown and the Heritage Board, APM has also begun to add an additional 35,000 sq. ft. to the complex, expanding the project to the corner of Queen and Water Streets. In what was once a vacant lot, will be a great addition to our valuable downtown core.

To honour its original Builders, APM decided to rename the building the “Welsh Owen Building”. Several tenants have already signed up to be in the complex including EA Games and Campbell Lea Barristers and Solicitors. This entire project has saved an important piece of Charlottetown’s architectural and commercial heritage and has truly revitalized our downtown.

APM CEO Tim Banks wants to make sure that all parties involved with this project are recognized, without the help of their subcontractors, the city of Charlottetown, the province and all of his APM staff, this project would not have been possible. APM’s Vice President of Engineering Ian Harper is honoured to accept the award on behalf of the company.

Media Contact: MediaReleases@apm.ca