A first look at one of Gibbard District’s proposed 137 units was offered by the parties behind the major renovation project on Wednesday as they hosted a special media event inside the old factory.
The event was also marked the official opening of the condo unit’s sales office, which will now be open on weekends throughout the summer.
Led by Doornekamp Construction and SilverCreek Communities, the project will see the old Gibbard Furniture Shops factory turned into two condo buildings, commercial space, a proposed whisky distillery and a grand piazza overlooking the river with the old Gibbard’s smoke stack overlooking it all.
“I’ve been kind of watching this slowly progress,” said Bruce McPherson, whose late father owned the factory up to 2008 when furniture production ceased. “Now when I walk in here I think I’m back in time and the Gibbard factory is back to life.”
McPherson also pointed out that the current condo sales office once housed his office. He noted his father would be pleased with how much of the factory’s history will be preserved and woven into the new project.
During the press conference, sales reps from In2ition Realty offered a glimpse into the sales pitch they plan to use to recruit buyers. That included highlighting a state-of-the-art geothermal heating unit that will be used to heat the buildings, the proximity to Kingston, Toronto and Montreal as well as the views overlooking the Napanee River.
The announcement was near to Greater Napanee mayor Gord Schermerhorn, who noted his first job was at the factory as a 17 year old.
“We made the highest quality furniture there is in the world at Gibbard’s furniture,” said Schermerhorn. “(Their work) could be found in embassies across Canada and around the world.”
Schermerhorn says the development will be a huge benefit to Greater Napanee.
“It’s great to see the Gibbard District taking place,” said the mayor. “It’s turning into a high quality condo unit that will draw people to the municipality and add to the municipality in a great way.”
Schermerhorn also noted he was glad to see a local company attached to the project.
“When I heard the Doornekamps were doing the project, I encouraged the town to jump onboard,” said Schermerhorn. “The reason why is the Doornekamps have proof (when working on historic buildings). Look at the Woolen Mill. Look at the old S&R Building in Kingston. Great projects well done and I’m sure they’re going to do the same thing here in the Gibbard District.”
As for the timeline of when the project would be completed, Nate Doornekamp of Doornekamp Construction says that is dependant on sales. He hopes to have shovels in the ground next year.
More information on the unit can be found at www.gibbarddistrict.ca.