Napanee developers to turn 19th-century factory into condo complex

An abandoned factory in Napanee, Ont., is getting a new life thanks to plans to build a sustainable new condominium complex on the 19th-century site.

Furniture company has long since closed, but developers hope to bring people back

Incorporating the facade of the former factory, the development will have condos and commercial space. (Doornekamp Construction )

An abandoned factory in Napanee, Ont., is getting a new life thanks to plans to build a sustainable new condominium complex on the 19th-century site.

The Gibbard Furniture Company property was once a bustling manufacturing centre, building furniture that was sent around the world to adorn Canada's embassies.

A group of local developers now want to convert the property, keeping the old façade and building a condominium complex around it.

Nate Doornekamp of Doornekamp Construction said they want to preserve the factory's history while also creating something new. 

"We have a property that essentially Napanee was built around. We are looking to give it a new life," he said.

The site today hold the historic buildings, but the site has not been in active use for years. (Frederic Pepin/Radio Canada )

Sustainable development 

Once the 137-unit project is completed, Doornekamp said he hoped to attract buyers who'll enjoy both the slower pace in Napanee and the local recreational opportunities.

The plan, he said, is to set up a geothermal heating system for the properties and to use the nearby waterfalls on the Napanee River as a hydro-electric power provider.

Architect Jaegap Chung said that in addition to being sustainable and environmentally sound, the complex should also give condominium owners protection from fluctuating energy rates.

"People like predictability, and I think something like a geothermal and onsite power generation offers that kind of predictability," Chung said.

The proposal also includes six commercial spaces and a plaza that would be open to the public.

The developers hope to have construction underway in late 2019, with the work expected to take approximately two years.

with files from Frederic Pepin