SAINT JOHN – After a year of extensive renovations, One Charlotte Street in Uptown Saint John will be ready to open its doors next week.
The building, which sits on the corner of Charlotte and Union Streets, was purchased by developer Percy Wilbur about a year ago. Since then, it has been completely gutted over the last year, unearthing some long buried away features like exposed brick and columns. He also constructed a new section of the building facing Union Street.
“We pretty much had to demolish everything except for the shell,” says Wilbur. “It was completely gutted. You can have a rough idea of what you want to do with the building, but it’s really after you gut it that you can lock up your final plans.”
Back in the day, the building was home to businesses like retail clothing store Marr Millinery Co. Charlotte Street itself was for decades a clothing retail hub before the development of the malls on the city’s east side. Now, it will be home to four up-scale apartments and an art gallery, Jones Gallery, taking up the 2,000-square-foot bottom floor.
The residential units include three two-bedrooms apartments and one one-bedroom. They are open-concept with marble counter-tops and new appliances, including washer and dryers. They are heated and cooled by heat pumps and auxiliary heat. The units will be renting for between $1,400 and $1,800 a month, plus utilities.
Take a look inside One Charlotte Street below:
The units will be completely done in a week when Wilbur will then begin to show them. He says his ideal tenants are “empty nesters” and young professionals.
“Young professionals and empty nesters that want to start living an urban lifestyle. There seems to be a movement towards that,” says Wilbur. The uptown is full of opportunities and it’s easier to get around now. There’s a lot of amenities like terrific restaurants and bars and there are lots of festivals going on. The uptown is a nice place to be. It’s a kind of a happening place.”
Jones Gallery, the bottom floor tenant, will open its doors next week on Dec. 7. Wilbur says that was exactly the kind of business he was looking attract.
“I was hoping for a professional organization of one sort or another, maybe a dentist office or a boutique accounting or law firm. Something professional,” he said. “I refused to have a bar our restaurant. We’ve got great bars and restaurants in the city and it’s a fickle business to get into, so I didn’t want that as a tenant.”
Wilbur credits the support of the City of Saint John and all the contractors and workers for having the entire project done on time and on budget. He hopes his development, along with the others taking place on Union Street, will inspire others to invest in the uptown core.
“You can’t help but be encouraging doing it in the uptown core, anywhere in the uptown core,” he says. “It’s due for a revitalization.