Lee McGuire is real Renaissance man. On the one hand, he’s got a passion for history. On the other, he’s a sucker for everything cutting edge. Lucky for him, The Hudson – ultra-stylish, modernist residences wrapped in an historic landmark – is the ultimate marriage of the two.
The Hudson is all about restored Georgian grandeur on the exterior and thoroughly modern living on the interior. And while finding the right balance may be intimidating for some, not so for Site Supervisor McGuire.
Sure, he admits it’s a project of epic proportion. Just gazing up at the historic façade of the Hudson’s Bay building instills a sense of awe. Its astonishingly beautiful bones mean that every detail is crucial. For the 40-year veteran of the construction management business, though, that’s not an issue. McGuire’s reputation for clear vision, thorough planning and meticulous execution are being played out on The Hudson – to stunning results.
Each of the 243 windows – in 27 different styles, shapes and sizes – has already been lovingly refurbished; once spring rolls around, the caulking will provide the finishing touch. The ornate terra cotta work is receiving a similarly meticulous treatment. While the majority is being rebuilt, repointed and re-grouted, some recreated pieces are currently en route from Boston Valley, a specialty firm based in upstate New York. Meanwhile, the circa 1913 balustrades are being carefully refinished under a weatherproof enclosure.
Elsewhere on site, the mind set is decidedly more 21st century. After all, in addition to heirloom treasures like exposed heritage columns and ceilings, The Hudson will boast up-to-the-minute features like geothermal heating and cooling. Twenty of the sixty 360-foot-deep holes needed to run the system have already been drilled. Once fitted with pipes, they’ll carry glycol through the earth to heat or cool the building as needed. Also going high-tech are The Hudson’s exterior walls. They’re being fitted with a cutting-edge Detec system (invented right here in Victoria) that will monitor moisture levels.
Meanwhile, modern interior stairwells have replaced old steel ones and the elevator is being installed. The inner courtyard windows are being glazed and the roof is going on. On the very busy second and third floors, steel studs are going in, electrical and mechanical are being installed, and sprinklers and duct work are underway. And in the greenery-lined brick carriageway connecting Fisgard to Herald Street, blasting is complete. With more than 100 people working tirelessly, The Hudson is slated for completion in the summer of 2010.
And, the Hudson Place community is further expanding. Townline in partnership with BC Housing and TL Housing Solutions, has announcedthe newest addition to Hudson Place. Construction will start in Spring 2010 on the 12 storey Hudson Mews which is made up of 120 homeownership and rentals and is designed by Merrick Architecture. Stay tuned for more information in the New Year.