Whether you are a Sandgate local or a frequent visitor, chances are you have already taken a peek inside the ritzy new property at number 19 Brighton Road (old Gloria Jean’s premises). Perhaps you’ve heard the rumours about its future occupants and, like the rest of us, can’t wait to see what happens next.
The first thing you notice are the magnificent copper entrance doors. The property’s owner, Ricky Ricardo, is passionate as he talks about them.
“These doors were in the ‘Gabba demolition and they were painted green; khaki-green and caked on paint. I loved the handles; I didn’t know what they were. I scratched them and ended up buying them. They are the original doors of the ‘Gabba Hotel.”
Looking up as we walk through those doors, we admire the huge chandelier dominating the space. It too was in a deplorable state when Ricky found it. His sister started the restoration process, and then a few more people got involved. Its effect in the space is stunning.
“I just love architecture and old buildings; to bring them back to the way they were. That’s what my passion is. I just want to get them right,” Ricky says. “It’s not hard work at all. I love it. I’ve got crews. It’s a great team. They are on the same page. They know what I like; what I want and they work to a certain standard.”
That standard is remarkable. Every detail has been crafted to enhance and maintain the integrity of the building. From the beautifully-repaired, original trusses to the polished floors, every fitting reflects the opulence of a bygone age. The ceiling has been replaced but some of the timber now clads the steel posts that support the outside awnings, completing the look.
“All this has been done locally which is really good —local renderers, local builder, local steel fabricators, local tiler. It’s all just local guys,” Ricky adds.
As for his vision, “I would love to see a bar with live music here - that would be ideal, because I’d like to come and visit it. I’d like the people of Sandgate, Shorncliffe and Brisbane to come and enjoy this space. “
Asked whether he wanted ideas from the public, Ricky replied, “I don’t mind. I love input, but I’m just happy for someone to come up with an idea. I don’t want the dynamic changed. I want to get someone in who knows what they’re doing.”
“My dream for Sandgate is to get hold of and open up some of these old buildings and bring them back to life.”
Ricky is happy to talk to prospective tenants, or listen to any ideas.
You may contact him on 0418 871 166.