June 9, 2013 2:57 pm
Updated: June 9, 2013 8:26 pm

Block party celebrates unique downtown building’s centennial

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EDMONTON- Dozens of people took over a section of 104th Street Saturday night, to celebrate a unique building’s 100th anniversary.

The Phillips Building, located at 101st Avenue and 104th Street, was built during the pre-First World War economic boom and opened in October 1913. It was constructed using the latest in 1912 technology.

The Phillips Building was used as a storage warehouse until it was sold in the early 1950s, when it was converted into a commercial space. In 1956, the exterior was renovated using modern materials.

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After being brought back to its original character, the building was converted into condominiums and reopened as the Phillips Lofts in 2002.

“You just can’t buy this kind of character any more. I mean, you look at the raw brick, the timbers, it’s pretty amazing. Like I said, you can’t reproduce this. It’s just something so special because there’s very few buildings like this in Edmonton,” said Shauna Warwick, a loft owner.

Saturday evening, area residents celebrated the historic building’s centennial with a block party. People danced along to live music, released balloons and partied into the night, celebrating a unique piece of Edmonton’s history.

“We just wanted to make sure that we utilized all of the people that were going to be around, to help celebrate the fact that we’re 100,” said event organizer Trina Jackson. “We don’t make buildings like this any more. In this particular building, it has the original limestone bricks that were created right here in Edmonton.”

Other features of the open-concept condos include large exposed timber beams and old elevator shafts that have been converted into rooms. The building had its hiccups over the years, though; prior to it becoming a condo building, it was in jeopardy of being demolished.

“It wasn’t until the city, in 1999, put in their downtown plan, offering an incentive for developers to actually preserve buildings like this. So it would have been such a shame to see this demolished,” said Warwick.

“There was a few issues, a few growing pains, but eventually it was completed and now it’s some of the most popular and unique lofts that we have in Edmonton,” Jackson added.

Both women says it’s important to mark milestones like this as a way of celebrating our city’s past. Warwick hopes to see more of a focus on saving building like this in the future.

“We really need to spend some time and money and effort on really preserving our history.”

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