Fresno Beehive

See the transformation of Kingsburg’s new, old neighbor. There’s a prize at stake

When Kjirsten Harpain and husband Jeff began work on the Apotek building, it was old and fairly neglected, an antiquated piece of downtown Kingsburg.

It has become a source of revitalization on Draper Street. In July, the Harpains, with the help of Harpain’s brother CJ Brock, finished renovations on the two-story building and opened the Apotek Shops and Lofts, which includes five residential living spaces situated above several business, including coffee house Kuppa Joy, boutique Revival 23 and personal fitness gym called The Summit.

The years-long renovation process is the subject of “Glorious, Old, Needs a Lot of Work,” a short documentary from filmmakers Evan Christensen and Matt Mealer (the team also responsible for the “Dine Out Along The Road” series that airs locally on KMPH).

The film was created as part of the 2019 American Institute of Architects Film Challenge, which puts architects and filmmakers together to share stories of those working to create sustainable communities. It’s a contest, with some $10,000 in prizes.

Voting is open through Sept. 27, and you can vote up to once per hour at aiafilmchallenge.org.

“Film contests, and personal projects in general, are a great way for freelancers like us to market ourselves and demonstrate our abilities outside of the typical scope of client work,” says Mealer, whose wife is also an architect and friends with Harpain.

So, he was familiar with the project even before the filming.

“Having visited the Apotek building before the renovations were complete, we were blown away by the end result,” Mealer says.

“Kjirsten has designed a space that feels new, fresh, and vibrant while still honoring the building’s past. The building itself, the businesses it houses, and the transformation her work has inspired in other historic buildings elsewhere in town are setting downtown Kingsburg on a bright path into the future.”

Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.
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