KITCHENER — Clad in a white hard hat and clunky rubber boots, David Brisson stepped into the centrepiece at Lot42.
It’s a space called The Factory, a 40,000-square-foot area with steel beams, exposed bricks and a concrete floor that still bears some of the traces of its legacy as, well, a factory. It was originally built in 1955 as the new home of Ardelt Industries and was the site of several subsequent businesses.
High above, an original (and still working) gantry crane spans the width of the building. Below, construction continued on the multi-use event space as final preparations were made to host Friday’s Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball.
While the property at 41 Ardelt Pl. in Kitchener has been used for special events in recent years — art shows, last year’s FuzeNation technology and music festival, even a State of the City address among them — it’s really within the past 10 months or so that the $10-million project to breathe new life into the complex took shape.
“We’ve truly tried to keep that industrial feel …. the pure grandness of the main building,” said Brisson, Lot42’s president and chief executive officer, who’s partnered with Patrick Doyle on the project. “We want to have that kind of ‘wow’ factor.”
New tinted windows, placed in front of the old ones, grace the side of the building that fronts onto Highway 7/8. A new 21- by 15-metre (70 by 50 foot) curtain glass wall greets guests at the main entrance. Brisson said the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters in California served as inspiration for parts of the project.
One part of the exterior has been painted purple; colourful murals by artists Jerry Rugg, also called BirdO, and Bruno, also known as Smoky, enliven other exterior walls that face The Courtyard, a 27,400-square foot outdoor space.
The Factory can accommodate more than 4,000 people.
There are other interior areas, too, including the 14,000-square foot Studio…