Plans for the new building include a new exterior

Plans for the new building include a new exterior

Renovations planned for burned out apartment building in Maple Ridge

McIntosh Avenue property in downtown maple Ridge has been boarded up since a fire in December 2012

The downtown Maple Ridge apartment building that burned in December 2012 is about to be reborn and will be sporting a new look in a year, says the agent for the property.

Fire ripped through the top floor of the apartment building at 22355 McIntosh Ave. in the middle of that month and left dozens of people homeless before Christmas.

Since then, the building has remained burned out and boarded up. That’s all about to change.

“So basically, it’s going to be a bright new building in there. It should stand out,” said Rajinder Chhina, managing the rebuild project for building owner Parmjit Kaur Sandhu.

Chhina said removal of the exterior cladding should start in a few weeks. The dark red, stucco-like material will be replaced with Hardy board, cement-based panelling, in shades of light blue and yellow along with stone in some places.

Inside the 21-unit apartment block, the interior has been gutted to the studs, allowing new drywall. New wiring and plumbing, a new fire sprinkler system and a new elevator is also part of the project.

Chhina said building and demolition permits have already been secured. “If everything goes well, we want to start in two weeks.”

Other changes include removing some of the concrete walls at the front of the building and improving the entrance.

Chhina said increasing the building height to four or five storeys from the present three had been considered, but a new $300,000-roof has already been installed.

Once complete, plans are to rent out the suites, although it’s also possible they could be sold as strata units.

Total cost for the rebuild project will ring in at about $2.5 million.

“It’s going to be a nice building. It will be done in one year, max.”