Renovation work is starting at 340 Water St. in Summerside.
The former long-time home of the P.E.I. Bag Company, the large industrial building has been largely unused for several years, except for a small section that was renovated for a single apartment.
The building was purchased by Debbie McGrath, of Jackson’s Point, Ontario, in 2017. Her intention is to renovate it into mixed-use residential/business units, with apartments on the second and third storeys and office space on the ground floor.
The work is expected to take about a year to complete.
McGrath is the owner and president of HR.com, which specializes in various human resources-related services, including online education programs and certifications.
Her company has offices in the U.S. and Canada, including one that opened in the Holman Building in 2016. That office recently moved to old P.E.I. Bag Company building and is operating out of where the apartment used to be.
McGrath previously said she bought the building because she loved its character and scenic location on the Summerside waterfront.
The building has a long history in the community. It was constructed around 1870 by the Lefurgey family.
After uncovering a section of the chimney a few years ago, a previous owner found dozens of signature from P.E.I. Bag Company employees starting around the 1930s.
The building also temporarily housed the 105th Battalion during the First World War after their barracks burned down.
The old vault is still in the building as well and it’s rumours that someone once tried to break into it in the 1940s by digging a tunnel.