Our Renovation Story..
Luke's thoughts to open a Bicycle Shop & Cafe in Warrnambool started to turn from dream to reality in early 2015.. With quite a few ideas in mind, we started doing a bit more research that also included looking at several similar businesses around Australia.
The ideas grew a bit more rapidly when we saw the empty building at 85 Liebig Street and thought this would be an ideal property in an ideal location! We purchased the building in late 2015...
In early 2016 we started to demolish the interior of the property. Mid year this came to a standstill as we awaited finalisation of our plans and permits. At this time we started to feel a pressure in demand for great bike sales & service in the local area - so we streamlined ahead with tidying up the Downstairs Basement, that didn't need any major structural work, and opened the current Bike Shop to the public in December 2016.
After much deliberation and a lot of back & forth, our plans & permits for renovations to 85 Liebig Street were finally approved this month.
This has paved the way for us to re-enter "renovation phase".. and as only few know, Luke is a builder - this is his project.. and to fulfil these major renovations as smoothly as possible he needs to concentrate full-time on building, not bikes.. (this will be hard - he loves bikes, and has enjoyed helping the hundreds of people we've had support the shop in the past 18 months!) It will also be at times simply unsafe for myself & Gwenna to be onsite.. so we have had to make the hard decision to close on weekdays. We are therefore open all day, every Saturday and any other times will be by appointment if possible.
We had a few people come into the shop over the weekend, and say "you don't look like you are renovating".. this means its time... time to show everyone what's beyond our current shop.. and our facade!
Upstairs consisted of a 3 Bedroom Residence, but it didn't have any external access with its entrance via a stairwell in the centre of the building. We decided to demolish all internal walls and make the upstairs one large room, with many different possibilities. However with this intention our first major hurdle was put in front of us. The original timber floor beams span the entire width of the building, a massive 8 metres - making the bounce in the floor upstairs scary! This would not support a group of people let alone a lot! So our plans are to manufacture & install steel columns that will stretch the height of the external walls and steel beams that will span the width of the building, including new timber flooring joists & beams along with new flooring in the upstairs area. This floor will become a large retail space..
Access to all levels in the property is also a great importance. The property consists of 2 Double Storey Buildings not fully aligned, making the property have 4 different levels. To overcome this we are installing a Lift, in the original stairwell, that will allow access to all floors. Along side the Lift there will be a new floating staircase installed. Access to what is considered the main Liebig Street level will be via a ramp at front street level, and a ramp from the Ozone Carpark.
The Liebig Street Level will consist of a small Cafe, and will be the hub of retail sales for the Bike Shop, which will stretch through to the raised rear level of the back building.
Downstairs in the Basement, where we are currently trading from, will become the main Workshop for any bike repairs & servicing... This area doesn't require any major renovations, but during construction of the Lift Shaft, this floor will be unaccessible to the public, as it is the main access point for any concrete pouring and steel works.
The plan with this blog.. is to keep you updated - and to tell you our renovation story!
So far July's building works has consisted of digging! Lots of digging! Firstly on the main Liebig Street Level to make way for footings to be poured along both the North & South walls in preparation for the steel support columns. Concrete should be poured later this month, hopefully. Secondly below basement level in the Lift pit - to support the massive stone walls that surround the Lift Shaft we have had to do several underpinnings, this involves concreting a number of sections in different stages. So far there have been 3 stages completed and a 4th this week should see most of the underpinning completed, and ready for the base pour.
It's a time consuming process - and to most it wouldn't look like much has been achieved, besides dust - a lot of dust.. everywhere!
AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 2018.
At the beginning of this month we finally had the base of the lift shaft concrete completed..
Construction also moved to the front Liebig Street level as we boarded off the front street entrance, removed all of the old windows, and levelled up our shop access following the Liebig Street paving & footpath upgrades.
This was followed by the major installation of our new steel columns and upstairs floor beams.
It was a great feeling to finally have the steel in place - although there is still more to come!
After the installation of the steel, works moved to upstairs - and the old, somewhat scary, floor & beams were fully removed and replaced.. It feels much safer walking around up there now and this space will have so much versatility.
Another couple of sandstone walls have been deconstructed, more flooring was removed in what is to be our new open stairwell - and the old stairs were also removed to open up the lift shaft from base to top! This next month will see more steel works take place, and with that hopefully most of our major structural elements are taken care of...
OCTOBER 2018 to MARCH 2019
It's been awhile since I updated the Renovation Blog..
There has been an immense amount of progress on the building in the past 6 months.. The Steel for our Lift Shaft was installed before Christmas, dropped in through the roof by crane! Following this upstairs flooring was completed to join it to the new steel structure. We also worked hard on our Liebig Street front-of-shop in the hope of getting the hoarding off before Santa's arrival - but with a delay in Windows & Glass this has been out of our control, and so the hoarding still remains! But shhh.. behind it looks awesome!
As Luke recommenced his position in the Bike Shop throughout the summer period, construction ticked along in the background thanks to the tremendous efforts of our lone builder Ken. Upstairs Walls were framed out along with the Cathedral Ceiling - there is just so much timber - but it is now ready for electrical & plastering!
Throughout this month since our closure on the 4th, we have made dust - lots & lots of dust!! Doorways were knocked out & formed to make way for Lift access in the Rear Showroom & Basement. A complete new roof & gutters has been installed on the original Liebig Street structure, and plumbing & framework has been installed for the 2 new bathrooms. The Steel for our awesome new staircase in the front of the building was completed today and in the next couple of weeks the pallets of parts that now occupy our basement floor will be assembled to make our Lift Box etc - which will see a massive weight literally lifted off our shoulders!
The building is really starting to come together - and aside from a bit more floor works on the main Liebig Street level, there's no more demolishing! Phew... I'll be glad to see the last of this dust!
This has been a much bigger project than we ever anticipated, we have had many hurdles pop-up along the way, but we have overcome them one-by-one and I am pretty confident that this place is going to be simply amazing when it is finally completed later this year.