Rendering of 2015 Bonnycastle (by Payne Architecture)
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2015 Bonnycastle goes from burnst carcass to luxury condos
2015 Bonnycastle goes from burnst carcass to luxury condos. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

One year and two days ago today, a large three-story, brick apartment building burned for two hours before 75 firefighters extinguished the structure. Part of the roof collapsed and six-apartments proceeded to sit charred and vacant until a few weeks ago. Today, scaffolding surrounded the turn-of-the-century building and crews worked on framing six new luxury condos that could be ready for occupancy by June or July.

Rendering of 2015 Bonnycastle (by Payne Architecture)
Rendering of 2015 Bonnycastle. (Payne Architecture)

The project is being called 2015 Bonnycastle after the structure’s address and is being developed by John Gray and Stockie Rhawn. The team bought the property last December and plans six two-bedroom, two-bath units, each at about 1,500 square feet. Gray and Rhawn have recently developed other historic residential properties such as 325 S. Peterson Avenue and the Keat’s Bluff Condos in the Clifton & Crescent Hill neighborhoods. John Gray also has been working to refurbish several buildings downtown including the 550 Lofts on Fifth Street and the East Market Street Lofts. His current downtown endeavor is converting a boarded up four-story building on Market Street into the Bacon-Debrovy Lofts.

According to Paul Davis Restoration who boarded up the burnt structure on Bonnycastle Avenue last year, the previous owners were out of town on vacation when the building caught fire. Part of the third floor was removed and a tarp was installed covering the missing roof. One owner had wanted to proceed with rebuilding the structure while the other wanted to tear the building down. After opposition of demolition from the neighborhood, the structure sat vacant. There was interest from several parties to purchase the building, and now on its first post-burning birthday, 2015 Bonnycastle finds itself ready for new life.

Gray and Rhawn hope to have a model complete by April to show off the new units. The building already has a new roof and will get all new windows (the old ones were destroyed in the fire). Each unit will have a private 5-foot-by-10-foot deck and a one-car garage along the alley. The building has tall ceilings including 15-foot-tall ceilings on the third floor. While the developers plan to leave units in a state where future owners can customize the finishes, they plan modern kitchens with granite countertops, sunrooms, and 3/4-inch hardwood floors. Historic elements salvaged from the fire including fireplace mantles will be incorporated into the new building.

Over all, Rhawn told us they want the building to exhibit quality and retain its historic features. He lives nearby in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood and wants a project the area can be proud of. The original hallway and stair connecting the units will be restored with salvaged doors and original woodwork and a new skylight will be installed to allow light to pour into this community space. He said some of the old, wavy glass could be used in the building as well. The units are being offered at a pre-construction price of $249,900 and architectural services are provided by Payne Architects of Westport Road.

While the year-old smoke stains are still visible on the front of the structure, its great to finally see the building under rehabilitation. After major construction wraps up this summer, 2015 Bonnycastle should be looking better than it did even before the fire. And according to the rendering posted on the project sign, the main entrance to the building will be restored to its original design intent, without the supplementary support of two aluminum columns holding up the sagging awning.

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