Keith Brideau has plans to breathe new life into two prominent historic buildings on King Street.
The president and CEO of Historica Developments Inc. recently closed a deal on the buildings known as Parrtown Place. In addition to ground floor restaurants, there is also office space on the second floors of the buildings where a doctor and lawyer have set up shop.
Brideau purchased the buildings for $1.1 million from Rick Baker. The deal took about six months to come together.
Fresh off his completion of the Bustin’s building and Park Place, he has similar ideas for Parrtown Place.
“I think the location is prime,” he said. “We know the neighborhood very well and those two buildings were heavily vacant and had a lot of potential.”
Brideau’s goal is first to renovate the second floor office spaces in both buildings for the current tenants and create a place for another office.
“We’re taking care of the existing tenants on the upper floors, shuffling them down to the second floor.”
The third, fourth, and fifth floors will be turned into 20 loft space apartments for residential tenants. The apartments will have a passenger elevator and offstreet parking lot that can hold 20 cars. There is also a rooftop patio with scenic views of the city.
Brideau, who is known for adding ornate and modern details to his apartments, said the King Street units will set the bar high.
“The finishes overall are going to be high quality, probably the highest quality we’ve ever done, which caters well to people who are empty-nesters and want to downsize without giving up the quality they’re used to.”
Nancy Tissington, the executive director of Uptown Saint John, said the development of the buildings is a “huge win” for the city.
“History tells us that as soon as we start planning, people are knocking on their doors. They have a good product, they are usually timely. It’s much anticipated that these will probably be filled before Keith is finished with them.”
Brideau said the development to buildings will add to the longevity of the structure.
“It’s an incredible good news story because we’re going to be bringing those buildings back to life,” he said.
“Our model is to go in, gut and rebuild to make those buildings beautiful and last another 50 or 100 years.”
Once the residents move into the space, the surrounding businesses, such as the coffee shops, eating establishments and The City Market will be given a boost, Tissington said.
“That is what we are looking for in any city,” she said. “We need the residents to support the businesses.”
There is also a vacant storefront between Subway and Ta-Ke Sushi, which are at ground level. Brideau is looking for another business to take the place of The Butterfly Shoppe that operated out of the building.
“That is prime storefront and we’re going to be upgrading that storefront and redoing the entrance to the residential. Because of that location right across from Brunswick Square, we think it’s going to be very attractive for a high-quality retailer.”
The renovations are expected to take about 18 months to complete. While he fixes up the King Street property, Brideau also has his eye on other pieces of real estate in the city for his next project.
“I always have a list of properties. I’m looking at partnering with investors and going after more opportunities there.”