Nov. 14, 2019 – Heidi Sherwood, owner of Sattva Spa, says it will take millions of dollars and at least another year to rebuild her business after next door’s fire. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Nov. 14, 2019 – Heidi Sherwood, owner of Sattva Spa, says it will take millions of dollars and at least another year to rebuild her business after next door’s fire. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

VIDEO: Six months later, downtown Victoria business still feels the burn of Pandora fire

Sattva Spa stripped to the bare bones and won’t be operational for another year

The walls at Sattva Spa have been stripped to the studs and coated with special paint to kill mold. Lightbulbs hang by wires and long plastic tubes navigate the maze of beams to ensure proper air circulation is delivered to every room. Six months after arson sparked a massive fire in Victoria’s downtown core, the local business is still suffering.

On May 6 a suspicious fire began, destroying the former Plaza Hotel at 603 Pandora Ave. and severely damaging the neighbouring building.

Millions of gallons of water were poured onto the building’s roof, sinking next door into the walls and basement of the Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St.

“Everything was destroyed,” said business owner Heidi Sherwood. “I’ve been told by the HAZMAT team that this building is one of the worst disasters they’ve ever seen in the downtown area.”

ALSO READ: 4 million gallons of water used on downtown Victoria fire so far

The building’s basement wasn’t accessible for three weeks due to structural concerns, and when people could finally go in they found it was waist-deep in water, covered in mold. Cracks in a shared wall between Sattva and the Plaza Hotel continues to be an engineering issue.

For months restoration teams needed to wear respirators and full suits to access the building. On Thursday Sherwood finally received the all-clear to go in without a mask.

“The aftermath for us has been pretty devastating,” Sherwood said. “We have no floors, no ceilings, no walls. We’re looking at a complete replacement of the elevator, new wiring, new drywall, new insulation, new everything. Right now we’re just down to brick and mortar.”

ALSO READ: Downtown Victoria businesses feel the burn of neighbouring fire

Only a handful of things survived the fire, including a couple sinks, vent grills and baseboard heaters.

“This is everything that’s left,” Sherwood said, tearing up. “There’s just so much work to do.”

Sherwood’s business had just celebrated its second anniversary, and was just starting to feel established in the community.

After the fire some of the Sattva staff were transferred to the sister business, Sapphire Day Spa, but most had to find jobs elsewhere.

Sherwood’s insurance covers all the assets which were inside the building: things like chairs, sinks and massage beds, but not the cost of restorations or renovations. While the building owner is responsible for basic infrastructural repairs, the bill for business-specific renovations in the 6,000-sq. ft. space falls on Sherwood.

The bill, she said, will sit in the millions.

ALSO READ: Victoria Police confirm downtown Plaza Hotel fire was arson

Despite all the setbacks, Sherwood is determined to reopen again in 2021. The push to keep going, she said, is from the spa’s clients.

“I think they are asking us to be part of this business community,” She said. “They are the reason we are a business, the reason we operate and the reason we opened . I think what we were able to deliver was meaningful.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Businessfire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Nov. 14, 2019 – The Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St. needed to be gutted to accommodate the fire and water damage taken on after the next door Plaza Hotel burnt down. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Nov. 14, 2019 – The Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St. needed to be gutted to accommodate the fire and water damage taken on after the next door Plaza Hotel burnt down. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Nov. 14, 2019 – Some of the only things that could be salvaged were a few sinks at the Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St. after fire and water damage destroyed the interior after the next door Plaza Hotel burnt down. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Nov. 14, 2019 – Some of the only things that could be salvaged were a few sinks at the Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St. after fire and water damage destroyed the interior after the next door Plaza Hotel burnt down. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Nov. 14, 2019 – The Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St. needed to be gutted to accommodate the fire and water damage taken on after the next door Plaza Hotel burnt down. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Nov. 14, 2019 – The Sattva Spa at 1411 Government St. needed to be gutted to accommodate the fire and water damage taken on after the next door Plaza Hotel burnt down. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Just Posted

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Goldstream Gazette is holding the first annual Local Hero Awards ceremony on the West Shore on June 18. Deadline for nominations is on May 2. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)
Nominate your West Shore hero today!

Submit your application to one of 12 different categories before Jan. 4

VicPD is warning the public after a man paid $460 for fake gold jewelry. (Unsplash)
Police issue warning after Victoria man pays $460 for fake gold jewelry

Suspects flagged victim down and took him to ATM

Carmen Robinson was last seen getting off a bus in View Royal the evening of Dec. 8, 1973. Her case remains unsolved 47 years later. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Gone cold: Fate of View Royal teen remains a mystery, 47 years after her disappearance

Carmen Robinson, 17, was last seen exiting a bus in View Royal in December 1973

Andrew McBride is among those who deck out for Sea of Lights floating ship parade annually. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic sinks Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Sea of Lights

Oak Bay club encourages donations to the charities event supports

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read