Rundown Waterloo apartment building lovingly restored
WATERLOO — The apartment interiors now have gleaming fixtures and hardwood floors that shine after a restoration that cost well over $1 million.
This building at 154 Erb St. E. in Waterloo used to be owned by Terry Good, who also owned several other rundown rental properties that attracted drug dealers, addicts, squatters, vandals, vagrants and sex-trade workers.
Where others see property standards violations and police cars, a young engineer sees opportunities. Stephen Litt is the project manager who watched over the restoration of 54 Erb St. E. This is the second time Litt supervised the restoration of an apartment building that used to be owned by Good.
“The bones of the building are good,” Litt said. “A great location in Uptown Waterloo, walking distance to all the amenities.”
This apartment building is a 10-minute walk to King Street North, one of the main reasons Litt wanted to restore it. There are 39 units in the building now after some of the large, two-floor, four-bedroom apartments were reconfigured. The majority are now two-bedroom units.
“I am a big proponent of adding suites within existing building envelopes,’ Litt said. “I think that is an excellent place to sustainably grow density in our cores.”
All of the bathrooms and kitchens were demolished down to the studs in the walls. The restoration includes new windows and new mechanical systems. A new roof was installed. Hardwood floors, marble countertops and shiny fixtures are now standard in each unit.
“A very arduous process,” Litt said of the work that took six months to complete.
New tenants started moving in Dec. 1. Demand for nicely finished rental units in and around downtown cores remains strong, Litt said, and the entire building should be leased out by the end of March.
“The plan is not to sell it, the plan is to hold it for the very long term,” Litt said.
The three-storey walk-up has an interior courtyard that has two old oak trees and new sod.
“People don’t build buildings like this anymore,” Litt said of the courtyard. “It is something that I think is really cool, sort of private courtyard space for the tenants.”
Litt also supervised the restoration of 48 Weber St. W., another apartment building that used to be owned by Good. It too was a haven for squatters and drug dealers before $1.3 million was spent on the restoration of the 40-unit building.
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