Saint John's Reversing Falls Restaurant getting pricier for new owner
Renovations will cost much more, but 'I’m going to give everything we can.'
While renovations continue on the old Reversing Falls Restaurant, the man behind the project said he's committed to spending more than the $500,000 he originally promised.
The restaurant closed in 2014 and the city decided it would be cheaper to tear it down rather than improve it.
Last fall, city council awarded Max Kotlowski a 60-year lease of the property, saving it from demolition.
Originally Kotlowski planned on completing renovations to reopen in time for tourism season on June 1.
Ambitious plans for the interior have pushed back that date to the beginning of September.
The planning stage took much longer than expected to get everything right, he said.
The original building was constructed in 1954 and Kotlowski said renovations in the 1980s helped improve it.
More work needed than first thought
But after so many years without improvements, he said a lot of work is required to return it to its former glory.
"We're going deep this time," he said.
That includes restoring original design features such as the incline windows that were replaced in 1982.
The new, 106-foot-long window will have a 15-degree angle over the water, giving tourists a better view of the rapids below. In the basement, Kotlowski opted to spend more again.
We're going deep this time.- Max Kotlowski, owner
Another big expense is the planned skywalk on the building's roof, which Kotlowski hopes will help earn back his investment.
"The main source of income we believe is going to come from our Reversing Falls skywalk," he said.
A trip to the roof will cost $15 and will include access to the new lounge and theatre being built there.
Installation of the skywalk will begin in the next four to six weeks, he said.
Reinforced steel supports have been driven down into the bedrock to add extra stability.
Not easy being green
Outside, the building's appearance will be changing as well.
The front facade will be opened up and the foundation pressure washed.
Perhaps most encouraging for those who drive by is the new colour.
"Well it will cost me more than I planned," said Kotlowski, who is coy about how much more he will spend than the $500,000 he said.
"This building is not a door on the street, this is the Reversing Falls," Kotlowski said. "I'm going to give everything we can to be what it really deserves to be."