YARMOUTH, N.S. - The goal that local businessman Richard LeBlanc set out to achieve has been reached after he purchased and revitalized the third building in a triplet set across from his office on Main Street in Yarmouth.
LeBlanc, who is semi-retired but maintains his position as broker for Victory Realty, bought the first and second buildings at the same time last year. There was some division of structural elements necessary before the sale of the third building was complete.
The Town of Yarmouth’s façade program paid a small but significant part on the revitalization projects.
Three years ago, LeBlanc signed up for the program and received $5,000 in matching funds to renovate his main office building, what is now known as the Consulate Building, at 255 Main St. The Gothic-style revival building was built in 1845 and is the location for Victory Realty and Venture Mortgage, as well as his daughter’s café on the lower level – The Perky Owl. He received an additional $6,700 towards the triplets.
LeBlanc joyfully dove into the revitalization of the first two in 2017, working with a colour wheel, hand-painting many pieces for the renovation, spending hours online searching Victorian structures and noting architectural features of historic homes in Yarmouth.
The first, #258, became a rich gold with sage accents; #260 was painted purple, with black and gold trim. Now, #262 is now a bright red, with blue and cheery yellow accents.
LeBlanc says he didn’t want to match the other two buildings but that the third had to work with them and be just as outstanding in its own right.
After the decision on colours he started changing the windows and having custom mill work done that needed to be installed at the eaves and corners.
He found a couple of “great corbels” from a local antique dealer and ordered custom-made Juliet balconies at Metal Pro (all three buildings have Juliets and each is different).
The half-dome awning over the entrance is made of heavy canvas and is guaranteed to be colour-fast for a decade.
Because the business is occupied by Designs by Nhung, LeBlanc did not renovate anything inside. The last building took much less time to finish than the first two as it was in better shape.
“I had to rebuild from the basement up on the other two. This one here has been well maintained,” says LeBlanc.
The first two buildings are now newly wired and plumbed, completely insulated, with new flooring, new gyprock and new ceilings (an original tin ceiling was kept).
A large second-floor apartment overlooking the harbour bridges the first two buildings he completed. With the purchase of the third building, LeBlanc also acquired a commercial lot on Hawthorne Street that he says he’s not sure what he’ll do with yet.
He says his hope in revitalizing the three buildings is that they will make locals and visitors smile when they walk down Main Street and feel good about being here.
He adds that landlords don’t seem to realize that good tenants won’t be attracted if a tired old building is what’s offered.
“Once I started renovating those two buildings my phone was ringing off the hook when people realized what I was doing to them,” he says.
“I signed up three leases without the buildings even being completed. Like Kevin Costner says in Field of Dreams: ‘Build it and they will come.’”
History of the triplets
All three buildings were built in the late 1800s.
Bucky Devine (Bucky’s Sporting Goods) occupied #258 for a while, followed by Wyman’s Watch Repairs.
The first two buildings (#258 and #260) used to be a souvenir shop: Mr. Leonard’s Store.
#260 was once Clean-Rite drycleaners
#262 was once Hardings (sold pots/pans and dinnerware)
At one time The Credit Store, owned by Sheldon Cohen, occupied #262 and the first floor of the old Yarmouth Hotel. The Downtown Business Corporation was also in one of the triplet buildings at one time.
READ OUR COLLECTION OF THEN AND NOW STORIES
• Tiny house, big view: New home, old soul in Cape Forchu, Yarmouth County CLICK HERE
• Random Digby County find leads to huge loss in leatherback sea turtle research CLICK HERE
• Sam Langford’s story ‘Chasing Champions’ coming to the Marc Lescarbot Theatre as his legacy lives on CLICK HERE
• Celebrating Yarmouth area’s sports history CLICK HERE
• Running shoes, equipment, have come a long way CLICK HERE
• ‘I wanted to keep it here for everyone to enjoy’ – New life for historic Robertson building in Barrington Passage CLICK HERE
• Historic Milton horse returns to Yarmouth for its perch back on 1893 fountain CLICK HERE
• How a 1963 fire reshaped a streetscape in downtown Yarmouth CLICK HERE
• Rural internet efforts continue as travel the information highway in southwestern Nova Scotia CLICK HERE
• ‘I love upholding the tradition’ – 1880 history lives on at Shelburne Dory Shop CLICK HERE
• What was it? Shared story of September daytime UFO sighting in Cape Sable Island has people talking CLICK HERE
• Electric City: ‘We may not have everything we started out with, but we still have the story’ CLICK HERE
• COLUMN: Laurent d’Entremont: Turning back the clock to my childhood days CLICK HERE
MORE TO COME….