The old Friedom hotel has undergone many changes this year, from new owners to the newly painted green colour. Claire Palmer/Star Photo

Friedom Hotel gets modern face lift

The Friedom hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Golden. Located at 511 Main Street, it was originally built in the early 20th century. The hotel first opened its doors just over 90 years ago, in 1928.

Now, the building is getting a face lift, and as it nears its centennial birthday, it’s being brought into the 21st century by the new owners. Once formerly owned and occupied by Cox and Company, husband and wife Mike Taylor and Claire Dibble have become the new owners, taking over the building on April 15, 2019.

According to Taylor, the renovations included adding a hallway to allow second floor tenants access to their offices without going through the main floor store fronts, several utility upgrades and making sure that everything was up to modern provincial codes and standards.

A tree faller with Sawtooth Tree Services and involved in the ski industry, Taylor has had to briefly put his life on hold while he patches up the old hotel.

“I put everything aside for six months to do this, and I’m just coming up on the end of six months now, and I’m still doing work,” said Taylor. “It’s been fun. It’s been challenging. It’s a heavy work load, but it’s very enjoyable.”

Working on the building has given Taylor an opportunity to learn more about the history of the hotel. He’s read archived articles about opening day in 1928, and says that people frequently approach him to share their knowledge of the building.

“People have been interested to chat about their experience with the building,” said Taylor. “A lot of people have been stopping in and telling me their stories and it’s been really fascinating.”

The idea to take over the building was born out of the idea of restoring the hotel to its former glory, but with a modern twist.

“It was an opportunity that we learned of and we just saw a chance to bring a beautiful old building back to life,” said Taylor.

Originally, the hotel had 14 rooms, four bathrooms and a communal dining area. Now, the building has four residential suites, one one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments, as well as retail and office space.

While there is still one apartment available, all of the retail space has been spoken for, with businesses like the newly minted Worthy Boutique. When searching for businesses, Taylor says they were looking for a particular kind of business to embody what the Friedom hotel is all about.

“We wanted them to be energetic, successful and not noisy,” said Taylor. “Everything is spoken for and rented, we found great businesses.”

Taylor anticipates that around 90 per cent of the planned renovations and construction will be done in the next couple of weeks. While the work has been enjoyable, Taylor is eager to get back to his regular daily life.

For now, Taylor and Dibble are going to continue with what they’re doing and continue to upgrade the building.

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