Braidwood rebuild brings condos out of ashes
When the Braidwood Condominiums in Winter Park were built in the 1980s, the building lacked hallways wide enough for wheelchairs, walls between units were slim and the fire suppression system couldn’t compare to modern requirements.
An April 2020 fire damaged a majority of the structure and killed 28-year-old Andrew Barton. Fire investigators believe the fire started in the second-floor unit where Barton lived, though East Grand Fire Chief Todd Holzwarth said a specific cause wasn’t determined.
On top of fire, the building was further damaged by water and mold. Despite the work needed, Braidwood Homeowners Association President Doug Moore said the homeowners were eager to rebuild.
“The first thing we did was poll the owners to decide whether or not they wanted to rebuild and unanimously they did,” Moore said.
The HOA partnered with Big Valley Construction and Kenneth Cillia Architect to bring the building into the 21st century, in terms of both design and building code requirements. First, the old structure had to be razed.
“The whole building came down to the concrete parking garage,” said Ken Cillia of KCA. “It was a bit of a challenge because we were stuck with the footprint.”
Braidwood will still house 12 units, but each is slightly smaller with different layouts to accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, fire safety updates and structural improvements. Additionally, the units were improved with in-floor radiant heating and natural gas fireplaces.
“Everything from the windows to the wall insulation had to be brought up to modern code,” Cillia said.
When it came to the exterior of the building, Winter Park’s new design standards forced a new vision for Braidwood. The exterior layout will feature more open balconies with metal and timber aesthetic features.
“(The original design) is something that would not be allowed to be built today,” Cillia said. “It will look nothing like the original and I think everyone is very pleased with it.”
Cillia estimates the project is about 65% complete and should be finished by spring 2022.
Moore said residents are looking forward to getting back into the building, especially after losing years of use to the fire and construction.
“At the end of the day, we’re trading 1980s construction for 2021 construction,” he said. “It will be like Christmas morning.”
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