After three investors purchased the historic Armond Theatre in downtown Cranbrook in January of 2020, one said the work to “bring a landmark building back to life” is going smoothly.
Ferdy Belland, Managing Director of Armond Theatre and one of three investors said he’s glad to be involved in the restoration of the iconic building.
“We’re happy to bring a landmark building back to life. There’s not a lot of landmark buildings left in Cranbrook’s downtown core, and we’re sincere about helping local endeavors for downtown revitalization, tourism upsurge, cultural nurturing and just bringing some civic pride and colour back to Cranbrook.”
As for construction, Belland said work has been progressing well, and hazardous material removal has been going on despite COVID-19.
“It’s been going slowly but surely. Oddly enough, the whole state of the pandemic hasn’t really interfered with the pace of our progress. It’s going as fast as any other commercial renovation of its size,” said Belland.
Belland added that the project is in the final stages of removing any hazardous material, allowing for renovations to begin in earnest.
A structural engineer from Nelson will be brought in to take a look at how to best repair the roof, which Belland said will be a simpler solution than originally thought.
“We just need to beef up the trusses. There are wooden train trusses in the roof that need to be strengthened up with either LVL (laminated veneer lumber) or metal plating. The engineer will tell us that when he takes a look at it.”
Belland said they will begin to look for outside investors in the project as it progresses further.
“We’ve actually proven that we can decontaminate the building, which a lot of people thought was an impossible task, and now we’re actually fixing the roof, which a lot of other people thought was an impossible task,” explained Belland. “Now we’re proving to people that we’re serious and that we are going to complete this. So, now we can reach out to people who want to become further partners and investors.”
Once finished, the Armond Theatre will be a mid-sized performing arts venue, and act as a sister venue to the Key City Theatre and Studio Stage Door.
“The Studio Stage Door can handle events of up to 82 people, and the Key City theatre can handle events of up to 620 people, but there’s nothing that can handle mid-sized audiences that can bring anywhere from 150 to 400 people. We fill a gap which has been needed in the arts and entertainment world here in Cranbrook for decades,” said Belland.
Belland hopes the doors will be open to the public sometime late next year, but he does not want to rush the project.
“We’re not in a hurry to be open while the pandemic is ongoing, but I think we’re running a pace with how the pandemic is playing out. In our heart of hearts, we would love to be open to the public later on in 2022, but we’ll have to follow the trends and see what the pandemic will allow us to do,” Belland said to MyEastKootenayNow.com. “We have at least another year and a half of work ahead of us, but it’s nice to know that things are going through without any hiccups or interruptions to speak of.”
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