A building that once housed camera supplies, but then deteriorated from exposure, has a new image.

The historic Brighton Block, originally built by Ernest Brown in 1912, for his Everything Photographic business, is nearly ready to reopen after a two-year effort to salvage the brick walls of the building.

Originally, Ken Cantor, a longtime developer in Edmonton, said his company, Primavera, had hoped to save much of the foundations and framing of the century-old three-storey building at Jasper Avenue and 96 Street.

The building had deteriorated too far for that to happen.

“It was decrepit and literally rotting from the basement to the roof,” Cantor says.

The plan then became an effort to save the brick walls of the old building. To do that, an edge foundation needed to be poured,  before the old insides could be dug and torn out. Then, a state-of-the-art system of raft slab and new columns could begin.

Then, the original three-storey structure turned into six with the new upper levels having floor-to-ceiling glass with sweeping views of the river valley.

“The building itself is exactly what we wanted,” says Cantor.

Even the alley side of the Brighton Block will have the same glass treatment to show off Edmonton’s changing skyline, according to Cantor.

“People don’t realize how close it is to everything, when you stand here, you can see CN, which is the first office tower that was built. You can see Epcor, you can see Stantec and the Marriott that was built.”

The developer hopes a restaurant will occupy the first floor and says that the upper storeys would be perfect for a business like a law firm. He says construction will be completed by mid-September.