Weeds are growing from cracks in the facade, the timber door frames are blackened and construction workers keep finding old pennies among rubble, but the fire-ravaged Guildford Hotel finally has a new roof protecting it from the elements.
The heritage-listed building was gutted by fire in 2008 and the Guildford community has been passionately campaigning for it to be restored to its former glory ever since.
It has gone more than six years without a roof and graffiti has been regularly sprayed on its walls in protest against it falling into disrepair.
But since November, workers have been rebuilding it “from the bottom up”, making it safe, cleaning out debris, removing irreparably damaged materials and supporting its ageing brickwork, so it can reopen as a pub.
Owner of the Guildford Hotel Luke Martino on the old staircase to the Belvedere. Picture: Megan Powell/The West Australian.
The roof was finished this week and Guildford Hotel owner and developer Luke Martino tightened the last bolt on it at a topping out ceremony held last night.
More than 1500m of steel was placed in the walls to reinforce the structure before the roof could be installed.
Refurbishment of the timber windows and works on the steelworks of the hotel’s belvedere — the landmark feature of the 130-year-old building that was destroyed in the fire — will begin soon.
The internal fit-out of the hotel, which is to be run by Melbourne-based The Publican Group, will start in coming weeks as the project marches towards what its owners hope will be a November 11 opening.
Builder Nathan Stride, director of Ultimo Design and Construction, said every piece of the building that had survived the fire and was considered safe was being kept to tell the story of the blaze and the building’s history.
Mr Martino said he was pleased with the project’s progress and, with the support of all stakeholders involved, he was confident the project would keep moving forward.