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Fernie’s castle gets a makeover
A well-known downtown Fernie building has been given new life. The freshly renovated Castle on First has been redeveloped into condominiums and commercial space, and after years of construction, is finally ready to be revealed.
Originally built as a warehouse for the Coal Creek mine, the building went on to serve as a tire shop before falling into disrepair. Longtime Fernie resident Heiko Socher purchased the building in 2007 with the intention of giving it a complete overhaul.
“It was just a framed structure when I bought it,” said Socher. “It turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated. It has taken two years longer than I thought it would.”
Fast forward to today, after years of engineering, design, and construction work, Castle on First is almost ready to open its doors The building now houses three luxury condos on the upper floors and a large commercial space on the main floor and basement. While the space has all the modern amenities a buyer could want, Socher did his best to keep the building’s history in mind. He remarked, “We incorporated as much of the old material here as possible.”
The original owner of what is now Fernie Alpine Resort, Socher has had a hand in many different projects that have helped the community evolve.
“I’ve been very involved in Fernie development, but this will be my last project I think,” he commented. “It’s been a challenge, but I’m happy we’re at the stage we’re at now.”
Socher hopes to sell the condos and has plans to lease out the commercial space once it is complete.