Smiley's Laundromat is no more, but new owners are working on a heavy duty clean-up
Smiley's Laundromat has been hung out to dry, taking with it yet another (sketchy) Colfax institution. So what's next for this spot? The building was purchased from Triton Properties by Slipstream Properties last year, and the owner is now giving the structure a floor-to-ceiling makeover and maintenance update. When it's finished, ideally by late summer, there will still be retail storefronts for new businesses on the first floor as well as residential spaces on the two upper floors -- but a laundromat will no longer be part of the equation.
"I think what's happened around the area is that most apartment buildings these days have washers and dryers in the buildings themselves," explains Anthony Loeffler of Slipstream Properties.
When his company bought the building, Loeffler adds, Smiley's former maintenance man, Richard Son, owned the laundromat business -- but he was behind on rent within the first month. Son "is like the nicest guy you'll ever meet," Loeffler says. "We have nothing but great things to say about him and all of our interactions with him. He ran it for about a year -- the laundry lease was only for about a year. So we looked at the retail space and decided to end the lease with Richard and the laundromat. He took all the machines and sold them."
With the machines gone, Slipstream began renovations. "(With) the whole retail space, we had to do a bunch of asbestos abatement," says Loeffler. "The ceiling had an innumerable amount of water leak spots from the apartments above; pipes from the fresh water and sewage systems had leaked over the last sixty years. We took out both levels of the ceiling, and now it's an amazing, tall space -- it feels huge. We're planning on redoing the floor, creating several spaces and moving in some retailers -- whoever might be interested."
The property group has no plans to overhaul the building -- just to give the former laundromat a thorough cleaning. "We are hopeful that we will be done with our renovations on the apartments by July or August, and a similar timeline, maybe a month or two, for the retail down below," says Loeffler. "We're planning on replacing all of the storefronts, freshening up the building, fixing all the brick and trying to leave as much of the character of the building as we can."
The location is definitely a unique, he notes -- especially when it comes to Colfax's famous clientele. "The area along Colfax is an interesting place for retailers because of the fantastic demographic of the area," Loeffler says. "They like new and renovated space, so I don't think it's going to be a problem to get it all filled up."
Here's to a new face for an old favorite.