The 1905 building has already seen extensive renovations inside; now the exterior is getting a facelift. Submitted photo.

Rossland investment group plans facelift for Hunter Bros. building

$60,000 to be spent upgrading exterior

An historic building in the city’s downtown is going to get a facelift.

Sourdough Alley Holdings, an investment group that owns several buildings on the eponymous block, is proposing to spend about $60,000 to clean up and improve the facade of the old Hunter Brothers building, fronting on Washington Street.

It’s part of a $1.5 million upgrade to the historic area that the company owns a large portion of.

“It’s the end of the project, and we’d like to bring the building as best we can what it looked like when it was built,” says Chris Bowman, a city councillor and spokesperson for Sourdough. “We’ve added a few modern touches as part of our Official Community Plan and will keep this building as heritage as we can, giving it new paint, different colours, a modern colour schematic — but highlighting the historical aspect of the building.”

Sourdough, which has owned the building for about 15 years, plans to add faux columns, repair the window trim and wainscotting, and add lighting, awnings, and murals that incorporate historic photographs of Columbia Avenue from the turn of the century.

The east façade and the front of the building will be repainted and a naming sign “Hunter Brothers Bldg” at the top of the structure, fronting Columbia.

While it’s not much to look at from the outside, Bowman says investors have spent a lot of money on renovations and improvements to the building’s interior.

“On the inside, we’ve invested more than a million dollars,” says Bowman. “We’ve created five commercial spaces, which are all full, and then we have 22 storage units in the basement.”

The single-story building dates back to 1905, and was one of the first buildings built using brick in Rossland, after a fire devastated the city’s downtown in 1902.

The Hunter Brothers — James, Robert, Charles, and William — were four of ten siblings from Woodstock, Ont. James and Robert were in business in Coulee City and Conconully, Wash. before opening their first store in Rossland on the south side of Columbia Avenue in 1895. In partnership with A.T. Kendrick, they also had branches in Sandon, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Phoenix, and Northport.

They moved across the street in Rossland to the existing building in 1908 and remained there until Eaton’s bought the business in 1953. The building has since been home to Super-Valu, Ferraro Foods, Rossland Hardware, and other businesses.

“We’ve embarked on the whole block of Sourdough Alley to beautify it, and bring a sense of community to the whole block,” Bowman says. “We’ve donated courtyards for public spaces, and have awesome art the Rossland Arts Council has worked on getting, which has enhanced it as well. It’s been an excellent community effort all around.”

The application has been provisionally approved by the city’s design review panel, which oversees changes to the city’s heritage buildings. Council confirmed the design panel’s approval Monday, with Bowman recusing himself.

Bowman says if all goes well, they hope to have the tenders let soon and the renovations done by snowfall.

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