Charlottetown apartments reopen after 2019 fire

·2 min read
The new building on Harley Street features sprinklers on the balcony. (Killam Properties - image credit)
The new building on Harley Street features sprinklers on the balcony. (Killam Properties - image credit)

The apartment building at 10 Harley St. in Charlottetown, destroyed by a dramatic fire in July 2019, is open for tenants again.

But just three of the 52 people who lived in the 29 units of the old building have decided to return, despite being offered two months free rent to entice them back.

Dan Sampson, senior director of property management for Killam Properties, the company that owns the apartments, said he was a little surprised so few tenants took them up on the offer.

"They had first right of refusal, of course, on the apartments that they had to vacate," said Sampson.

"It's been a while, it's been well over a year that they had to relocate. So people settled into their new homes. And a lot of people don't want to move, particularly seniors, they didn't feel that they wanted to come back. And that's understandable."

Another storey

There are some changes in the new building.

Killam decided to add more units, and that was a factor in why the building took 21 months instead of the original estimate of 12.

"Another 10 units, another storey to the building and make it four floors instead of three," said Sampson.

"There were some delays in getting approvals for that."

Balcony sprinklers

The four-storey building also requires a sprinkler system, which the three-storey building did not.

The company took the extra step of adding sprinklers to the balconies.

A balcony played a key role in the Harley Street fire. It is believed that the fire was started by a cigarette in mulch in a flower bed. The fire climbed up the outside wall, igniting a balcony with a barbecue on it. The propane tank was a major accelerator for the fire.

No one was injured in the early morning fire.

Sampson believes balcony sprinklers could have made a difference.

"Those things are difficult to predict, but it certainly would have helped," he said.

The company has also added balcony sprinklers to a new property in Stratford.

While few tenants are returning, Sampson said the units are filling up. There are just eight left, and he doesn't expect those to last long.

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