A local restoration company says it’s out hundreds of thousands of dollars for work on the former Kensington Manor apartment building.
Tenants in the seven-storey apartment building were evacuated in November 2017 after an inspection found it wasn’t structurally sound.
At the time, people living in the building were told they had to wait until the building was secured before they could collect their belongings inside.
According to the Restorers Group Inc., the company was working with the building owners to do some renovation work on the exterior of the building when it was discovered it was unsafe.
“We had a meeting with the consultants and they were asking how we were going to rig the project. We told them the method how we were going to do it — using swing stages — but it entailed putting some weights up on the roof,” Restorers Group owner Charles Doke told Global News. “The engineers thought, ‘We better just confirm that the weights fit fine for the building,’ and then next thing you know, that’s when the building was being evacuated.”
It was then Doke said the building owners retained his company to do temporary shoring inside the building.
Doke said crews worked seven days straight and installed around 2,100 posts to stabilize the building so tenants could remove their belongings.
“We left them onsite, and the months just kept going. We sent some invoicing into the owner,” Doke said. “He paid us a little bit of money… I tried calling him and it went radio silence from there.”
With labour and equipment rentals, a total of $282,148.68 went unpaid, Doke said.
In January 2019, city officials took over responsibility of the building and its demolition after the building’s owner missed several deadlines to either fix the building or tear it down.
According to Doke, the City of Calgary began to pay for the costs to shore up the building from that point until the demolition got underway in April 2020.
“Unfortunately, we never got the money (for) anything we did previous to that point,” Doke said.
The Restorers Group took legal action against the building’s owners, which resulted in a lien being placed on the property.
The vacant property sold to Maple Properties for $5 million in late 2022, but there wasn’t any money left to repay the Restorers Group after all the other outstanding bills were paid, including $2.6 million to the City of Calgary.
“I hate to say it’s a cost of doing business because I’ve never been burned before like that,” Doke told Global News. “It’s a tough one to eat, it’s a tough one to swallow.”
Doke said there isn’t much more his company can do to recoup those costs.
The former owners of the building were a numbered company, which has since dissolved.
According to Doke, the situation has left him feeling “burned and unhappy.”
“The city got their money back but they don’t realize the other people that don’t get their money back,” Doke said. “We’re a family company and, you know, it hurts.”
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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