Records show that by 1763, Mathias Niesner (born in 1736, died January 19th, 1822) had emigrated to Boglar, a village outside of Budapest, Hungary.
Mathias had married Suzan Elisabeth and between the years of 1763 and 1785 they had 12 children. Their 9th child, who was born in Boglar on the 14th, of December, 1776 and died May 10th,1821 was named Mathias after his father. It appears it was he who emigrated to Zichydorf, a village in Hungary, in 1797 and married M. A. Steinbruckner and fathered Johann Niesner born on May 6th, 1814.
Johann married Margaretha Bahr born November 9th, 1810. They had five children. The fourth child Joseph born January 4th, 1836 and died January 15th, 1899 was the father of my grandfather, Joseph Niesner, born in Zichydorf 1873 and died in 1946, who married Katrina Washbush, born January 25th, 1875 and died 1946. This marriage resulted in two children, my father, Joseph born September 26th, 1899 and died July 26th, 1952 and brother, Johann born 1901 and died during World War II.
My maternal grandparents:
Andrew Krattenthaler, 1874 – 1948 and Magdalena Ulrich, 1880 – 1974 were also residents of Zichydorf.
My father Josef Nieszner was born in Zichyfalva, Hungary on September 26th, 1899 and died July 26th, 1952 at Regina, Saskatchewan. My mother, Barbara, nee Krottenthaler was born in Zichyflava, Hungary on July 13th, 1902, married October 19th, 1922 and died April 20th, 1991 at Regina, Saskatchewan. They were natives of Zichydorf (Zichyfalva, Mariolana now Plandiste). At the time of my parents’ birth the area was part of the Austrian Hungarian Empire which was ruled by the Hapsburgs. After World War I it became part of Serbia, Yugoslavia in the Province of Wojwodina.
The main industry was farming.
I was born on May 22nd, 1924. The name of the town at that time was Mariolana.
My sister Mary was born on June 28th, 1928. We were the only children of our parents.
In 1923 my maternal grandfather Andrew Krottenthaler and family immigrated to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada to seize an opportunity to earn and save money in order to return and purchase additional land. He and grandmother Magdelena nee Ulrich and their daughter Lena and son Andrew worked and saved as one unit. My mother who was their oldest child was married and she and my father remained behind Yugoslavia.
In 1928 my Krattenthaler grandparents returned. They persuaded my mother and father to immigrate to Canada as opportunities seemed to be better than in the old country. As a matter of interest, my father who had received a few acres of land and a new house from his parents when he got married was also a shoemaker, as they could not survive on the farming the small amount of land they owned. A trade was a necessity for survival. It did not take much persuasion as far as my father was concerned to go to Canada because he was not happy with his situation in Yugoslavia. During World War I, my father had served several years as a submarine sailor and was not happy with the lifestyle and very few opportunities that were available in the small town. He could not see any chance to better himself or to achieve the life style he wanted for his family in Europe. So, my father, mother, myself, 5 years old at the time and my sister Mary, an infant, all immigrated to Canada.
We left by train for the port of Bremerhaffen in Germany and boarded the ship York and set sail for Halifax, Pier 21, Canada. At Halifax we boarded the C.P.R. colonial train arriving in Regina on July 9th, 1929. As I was only 5 years old, I have very few actual memories of the Old Country.
Some things I do remember, such as the day before my sister was born, my paternal grandmother pointed out a stork that had landed on our roof top (storks were plentiful in that area) and told me the stork would bring me a baby sister and the next day there was this new baby sister. I can also recall my grandmother taking me on visits with her to see her family who were confection makers in another town to which we would travel by train. One of the clearest recollections I have is the one of eating my first banana on our way to Canada. It was one evening when were out for a walk in Brememen and my father bought us each a banana. Our family arrived with very little money, just about enough for my father to purchase hand tools to dig ditches for the City of Regina. Fortunately my mother’s brother Andrew and her sister Lena had a small suite rented in what was the New Armour Block (since demolished) where now stands a parkade on the NW corner of 12th Avenue and Rose Street. It was not long before we rented a house on the 1900 block Montreal Street. A few months after our arrival in Regina, the fall of 1929, the stock market crashed and there was very little work to be found by my father for the next 10 years.
THE 1939 CHRISTMAS
After a period of ten years part-time employment (1929-1939) in the summer and fall, primarily with the City of Regina, digging ditches for water and sewer lines, as an employee of Cindercrete Products as a machine operator for a wage of .35 cents per hour, and then in fall, farm helper as a stoker and thrashing crew for $1.00 per day, my father, through the efforts of a friend, secured his first and only steady and full time job with Drury’s Brewery of Regina.
This was the job he held from 1939 until the time of his death in 1952. He worked as a general laborer in the bottling department or wherever he was needed.
There was never a more loyal or industrious employee than my father in the entire company.
As a result of his secure and full time employment the 1939 Christmas season was an extra special one for the Niesner family. I was 15 years old and in grade 10 at Loretto High School and remember the event vividly.
At the time we live on the 1900 block Wallace Street, a three room non-modern house. One room was used for 2 beds, one as a living room and one as a kitchen. The house also had a dugout for a basement which acted as a cool storage area which was accessed through a trap door. My parents shared a bed, my sister Mary had her own bed, and I slept on a pull out davenport couch which made into my bed.
At the time my mother did housework for a .25 cents per hour wage and I was earning about $2.50 per week working in my Uncle’s store after school and on Saturdays.
As a result of all our family’s hard work and our thriftiness we had managed to save enough money to purchase a secondhand Rogers Majestic radio as well as an electric washing machine for Christmas.
So at this special Christmas time y father’s employer provided a turkey and a 24 bottle case of beer. My mother had purchased a goose and a chicken and had baked cookies and cakes for the Christmas festivities. My father was never a drinker, however as I recalled he had purchased a 26 oz. bottle of rye whiskey in the event we had visitors. We also had managed to save $500.00 which we kept in a safe place. These funds were to be used as a down payment for the purchase of a more modern house in the upcoming year of 1940. On Christmas Eve 1939 during the course of our family gathering, prior to going to midnight mass, our family was truly thankful for all of this bounty which was truly a blessing. As a result, I will always remember the Christmas of 1939 as a highlight in my teenage years, but there are other special events that occurred before hand that I wish to share with you.
In the fall of 1929 at the age of 5 years I started grade on at St. Joseph’s School without being able to speak English. I was fortunate to have as my first teacher a Miss Marie Baker who spoke German. To the best of my recollection it was not long before I could converse with my school chums. I soon had the normal number of friends with which to play. It was in grade 3 that I became close friends with another boy in my class by the name of John Kuffner. We joined the altar boys of St. Mary’s Parish, under the direction of a nun by the name of Sister St. Peter. I suspect the two of us were her pets in as much as we always seemed to get the choice assignments. John went on to become an Oblate Priest. He died at rather an early age having had bad health for a number of years.
Several days a week after school and on Saturday mornings I attended German class. The weekday classes wee sponsored by a German Club “Der Heimatstreue” of which my father was the Secretary. The teacher was a Herr Oskar Meyrunke. The Saturday morning classes were taught by nuns, Sister St. Suzan and Sister St. Innocence. I attended these classes until I started high school at which time I continued with German classes throughout the four years. To this day I still pride myself in being quite fluent in speaking, reading, and writing my mother tongue (an unsophisticated version of High German). I regret that I never taught the German language to my children. At the age of 10, in grade five, I started to help out in my uncle Andrew Krattenthaler’s, my mother’s brother, grocery store after 4 o’clock and on Saturdays for which I received the grand sum of .10 cents a day on weekdays and .50 cents for Saturdays. I had an income of $1.00 per week, which in those depression days of the 30’s was more than a lot of adults had. As a result of my diligent saving I soon amassed the sum of $25.00 which was spent on a radio, the first one in our home. The next item that was purchased was a pull-out davenport couch and I finally had my own bed to sleep in.
I did not know it at the time however, that the training that I received in business and the motivation that my Uncle Andrew inspired in me, was to become priceless in my adult years. I attribute any success that I may have had in my business career to this early training. I can honestly say that since my first payday of $1.00 at the age of 10 years, I have never ever had less than .50 cents in my pocket. I know it was that early training and what the experiences of my early life taught me that put me on the right track regarding money management. My experiences growing up during the time of the Great Depression left me forever uneasy and somewhat fearful about spending money on unneeded items.
Having worked full time during July and August 1937 holidays, I had enough money saved to purchase my first bicycle.
In 1937 after completing elementary grade school at St. Joseph School in Regina, I attended four years of high school at “Loretto Private High School” taught by the Sisters of Loretto in the basement of Little Flower Church. My high school years 1937-1941 were happy ones. I was just an average student and had to work hard for my grades.
I continued working at the store after school and on Saturdays, at a somewhat increased remuneration, as my experience and usefulness increased. I did not have much time for sports and as a result I have had very little interest in any sport throughout my life. I now feel that as a result of this I may have missed out on some enjoyment. However, I did have a special girlfriend throughout high school and her name was Joan Herman. After graduation in 1941, at the age of 17, I went to work full time in my uncle’s grocery store at a starting wage of $15.00 per week and increased to $17.50 per week shortly afterwards which at that time was about what a Safeway store manager was receiving. I must say that I was a loyal and diligent employee. In return, my employer was good to me.
My wages each week at that time were turned over to my father, who had just purchased our first family home on 2213 Reynolds Street, Regina. My father in turn allotted me $2.50 spending money per week and looked after all my other needs, clothes, food, etc. In April of 1943 I enlisted in the R.C.A.F. My first posting was to Winnipeg, Manitoba at the wireless electric school. I received a living –out allowance and for my first posting I lived with my Aunt Lena, my mother’s sister and Uncle Frank Feigle. Room and board was $30.00 per month, which I am sure never covered all the costs, but I was treated very well. Both my Aunt and Uncle worked and I went to school. Our evenings and weekends were delightful times.
It was soon apparent I had no mechanical abilities and as a result I was shipped off to Toronto, Ontario for my 6 to 8 weeks of manning training at the RCAF No. 1 Manning depot in the Exhibition Grounds. I was logged in the building known as the Bull Pen. After a four week isolation and intensive training in marching, rifle shooting, caring for equipment and clothes we were finally given a 48 hour pass to see the metropolis of Toronto. Our family had a number of friends living in the Toronto area who had migrated from Regina with the onset of the war with whom I made contact and went to visit. At the time of receiving these passes I, along with a number of new found friends also traveled to Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. When my training was completed I was posted to no. 8 Bomber and Gunnery School at Lethbridge, Alberta as a General Duties Air Craftsman First Class with a monthly stipend of $60.00 per month with food, clothing and lodgings included. I felt wealthy and sent home $30.00 per month to my parents. The remaining $30.00 was used for personal items and entertainment.
On arriving at the Lethbridge posting I was immediately assigned to the Airman’s Canteen which was a recreational lounge area where ordinary First Class Airmen and Corporals had a wet canteen and store area where you could obtain confection items, extra clothing and light lunches.
There were also other recreational facilities such as pool and library facilities. Since I had good store experience, I was put in charge of the convenience store area under a Corporal by the name of Walter Hipie, who hailed from Nutana, Saskatoon. He was a first class gentleman and I got along very well with him as well as the Sergeant in charge of the Sergeants Mess and Offices Mess.
Soon after I was put in charge of the laundry facilities and then mustered into the trade of Canteen Steward with a .20 cent per day increase in pay. It was shortly after I received my Corporals stripes, with another .20 cent per day increase in pay now totaling $2.40 per day and in addition I was put in charge of the Officers Mess, a plush job. This job entailed the purchase of all extra messing for the Officers Mess, that is to say all the liquors, confections, ketchup, and fruit that had to be purchased for the Officers Mess which was not issued as standard rations. I felt I had the best job on the base as we had a compliment of about 500 officers on our station, and I got to know all of them very well.
Many times I was also requested to supply some bottles of beer to take off the premises, which was against the rules, however as in most cases the tips I would receive were worth any risks involved. It was not long before I was on a first name basis with all the officers. As a result I could get to go along on their practice bombings and gunnery flights which I enjoyed. However at no time did I ever address the Commanding Officer, Adjutant, Catholic and Protestant Padres by their first names.
My years at the Lethbridge base were enjoyable and happy ones. In early 1945 it was evident that the war was coming to an end and as a result #8 Bombery and Gunnery School was shut down. I was then posted to #3 Equipment Depot in Winnipeg which shortly afterwards was also being closed down. There was a call out for volunteers to re-muster to Interpreters for service in Germany.
After a written German examination I was sent for a refresher course in German at the University of Manitoba, after which we were to receive our officers’ commission and be posted to Europe. However, after it was discovered through my records that I had been born in the Old Country with a German background, I was told that I would not be re-mustered. I was very disappointed and immediately requested my discharge which was soon forthcoming. I was posted back to Regina where I was given my discharge in June of 1945.
One June 15, 1945 at the age of 21, I started my first civilian job with Alois Simon Agencies, 1764 Broad Street, Regina as a Real Estate and General Insurance salesman. At that time all you had to have was a $10.00 City of Regina business license. Pay was strictly by commission. No formal training was necessary. I was introduced to this job by my Uncle Andrew Krattenthaler who had retired from the grocery store business and was managing his real estate portfolio. The Agency was a one man office and I was the sole employee. As a result I gained experience at a variety of jobs, everything from sweeping the floors to being a salesman. I did not have an automobile when I started my job so I would get on the street car and go to the end of the east end line on College Avenue which ended on Broder Street and get off and walk into the southeast area where there was a lot of construction. I would try to sell the builders fire insurance for their buildings as well as get the house listings which I would then advertise in the Leader Post.
My first weekly commissions amounted to no less than $25.00 which I considered the most I could earn as a clerk at that time. When a customer would show up, I would take my employer’s car and drive him around showing him the houses we had listed. The commission rate at that time was 3% on the first $3,000.00 and 2% thereafter. A $5,000.00 house sale was considered and excellent sale.
I soon determined I must have a car if I was going to succeed in this business. The first car I purchased was a used 1930 Ford for the sum of $250.00. It needed some repairs and body work, so I took it in to Peter Griefs service station for repairs and a paint job on Friday and on the very next day, Saturday evening the garage had a fire and my car was destroyed in the fire with no insurance. I was advised by the fire department that it would cost $10.00 to have the remains of my car removed. A $10.00 removal charge which I never did pay! That was a down, but not out start for me, and since then it has been up and up all the way. When you start at the very bottom there really is only one way to go.
It wasn’t long before I sold my first house and again purchased a used car but this time I realized the value to also purchase car insurance! I worked long hours for the Agency as well as selling homes for other people. When I saw a bargain, I would purchase the property and re-sell it. I purchased my first 3 room non-modern house with an extra 25 foot lot for $1,325.00. It was not long after that I also opened a used car lot and entered the used car business. The best day that I recall working for that Agency was the day I closed 2 house sales, 1 building lot sale and a car sale, all in one day! Only then did I figure I was on my way.
On Monday, September 2nd, 1946 I married Joan Herman, my High School sweetheart. Father Jack Herman, Joan’s brother blessed the marriage. Joan was 21 years of age and I was 22. It took place at St. Mary’s Church at 10:00 a.m. There was a reception and a dinner in the basement of the church with family and friends attending.
We left on our honeymoon about 4 o’clock in the afternoon in our 1929 Dodge 4 door sedan and spent our first night at the Healy Hotel in Swift Current. Our room was beside the elevator and as a result we were reminded of the story of the newlyweds where the going was up and down all night! The next day we were on our way to Lethbridge where I had spent most of my days in the RCAF.
We then traveled to Calgary and Banff where we spent several days, then on to Lake Louise, Jasper and Edmonton where we had to get our car repaired. On the way back to Regina we visited a lot of Joan’s relatives at Blufton, brother John and family, Ben at St. Charles College, North Battleford and Davidson to visit Sister Madeline Exner. After our 2 week honeymoon we returned to our own 3 room basement suite, having to share the bathroom with 2 other tenants. Suites were almost impossible to get. The rent was $25.00 per month. Our total budget for a month was Joan’s wages from North American Life, $75.00 per month. My commission earnings varied, however regardless of what they were, they were reinvested or saved.
My boss, Mr. Alois Simon was not an aggressive business man. After a few successful purchases and sales of my own, all of which I had offered to share with him and to participate in, he refused and he gave me a one week written notice. I immediately asked him what this notice was all about and he advised me that he was not happy about me buying and selling on my own account. In my defense I had always offered him the opportunity to join me however he did not see it that way. Instead of waiting a week to leave, I cleaned out my desk and left immediately. I knew that I could get a position with another agency at any time as I now had a track record of producing results. I took a few days off to look around when I received a message that my old boss wanted to see me. He had changed his mind and he apologized and said he would make me a full partner in the Real Estate department as well as in the General Insurance department if I returned. Since I liked my job and was the only salesman in the office I decided to return.
It was not too long before my boss was able to buy his first new car and go on a two week holiday to British Columbia, on the commissions I earned and the profits we made on the purchase of properties, now with his full participation. I in turn saved my money to purchase rental properties.
My largest sale with that agency was in 1947 when we sold the Nesbit Block for the original owner for $60,000.00 with a commission of $5,000.00 (which was big money in those days).
At the end of October, 1948 I gave my notice that I was leaving to go into the café and convenience store business as well as land development (building new houses). The convenience store business was with Larry Kratt, my cousin as partner and the construction initiative was on my own.
We opened The Blue Boy as our café and convenience store was known, on December 7th, 1948, at 2035 Broad Street in Regina. After an initial 12 month struggle, The Blue Boy became a success and we started to make what was then some real money. I think the secret was that I worked such long hours I didn’t have any time to spend any of the money which was made. When I had left the Real Estate Agency I already owned 3 or 4 small houses and had $10,000.00 in cash. It was not long before we got to know a lot of people through the convenience store business as it was one of the first to remain open from 9 a.m. to 12 midnight, seven days a week. Sooner or later people stopped in for milk, bread and cigarettes especially on the weekends.
To give you an example as to how busy we were I will tell you what happened one special day. Joan was pregnant and about to deliver Barbara Anne in February of 1949, a few days after we had opened the store. I received a phone call from Joan this day while I was on duty at the store. She advised me she was ready to go to the hospital. Well now, I had a store full of customers so I could not leave. Luckily, Jack Bremner, a friend who was an undertaker at the Regina Funeral Home which is now Helmsings, was in the store having coffee. I told him of my problem so he immediately drove over to the Regina Court Apartments where Joan and I were living and took my wife, Joan to the Grey Nuns Hospital in a hearse to have our first child Barbara Anne born on February 21st, 1949. For many years to come Jack would retell this story.
In 1950 our second daughter, Mary Lee was born and our son Addie in 1955. In 1951 we built our first new home at 400 Broadway Avenue, a 2 bedroom bungalow with a 1 bedroom suite in the basement which we rented out. The total cost was $6,000.00 lot included.
Just the following year on July 26th, 1952 my father passed away.
HOLIDAYS AND SOCIALS
During the “Blue Boy” years from December 1948 to November 1958 there really was no time or opportunities for extended holidays. However, in the summer months we would spend every second weekend at B-Say-Tah on Echo Lake vacationing at a cottage which was owned in partnership with Larry Kratt. Soon thereafter each family associated in business had purchased or built their own cottage. During these years, every fall after harvest, Joan and I, along with Frank and Amelia Anwender, would go on a 3 day shopping holiday to Minot, North Dakota. We considered these times as one of the highlights of the year. In those years we also attended many dances and social functions at the Victoria Club as well as Church dances at St. Mary’s.
After the sale of the “Blue Boy” during the winter of 1959-1960 we had our first winter holiday traveling by car to the southern USA. We left the children in the care of my mother. We traveled through Billings to Salt Lake then on to Las Vegas, Phoenix through the Painted Desert, Grand Canyon and also on to Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Bernadino, where we visited hour high school friend Eileen Wagman who we had not seen for many years. Since then we have had the good fortune to go south for some period of time every year for the past 44 years. We took the children to the US for the first time in 1962 and every second year after that for several years. Those were happy times for all my family to remember to this very day.
We returned to California and Nevada for several weeks of holiday with the children. We took them to Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, the Sea World and Tijuana, Mexico enjoying all the tourist activities. We became regular annual visitors to the sun belt of the USA. Joan and I finally extended our holidays from 1 month, then to 3 months and finally close to the limit of 180 days. It is amazing when you think back over the changes that have occurred since the time of our very first holiday in 1960 to the present time. We progressed from Motel living to renting in a Mobile Home Park to purchasing a Condo in Cathedral Canyon Country Club in 1990. Naturally our holiday budget had to be increase substantially every year. After all our trips to California I still find Las Vegas is an exciting city to visit.
Joan and the children spent the Canadian summer at our cottage at B-Say-Tah and I would join them on the weekends.
In 1968 I started to take flying lessons however I was unable to follow through as business interests had a top priority.
We would often get leads from our customers as to who required commercial and office space as the Saskatchewan economy was expanding rapidly in those years. After building 5 or 6 houses every year and selling them along with the store business in 1954 we built 2060 Broad Street, our first commercial building for B.A. Oil on the main floor and Gulf Oil Company on the 2nd Floor and Delmar Dance Studios in the basement. In 1955 the two companies Property Developments Ltd. and Niesner-Kratt Enterprises Ltd. were incorporated. In the following year 1956 in partnership with Andrew Krattenthaler we built 1950 Broad Street with the National Film Board occupying the main floor. Progressing from this point we would go on to build several commercial buildings every year.
By 1958 I was getting tired of the café and convenience store business as I found the development and construction business much more challenging and profitable. So on November 1, 1958, we sold the business to Lou Backer and his partner and I opened up my own Real Estate office “Adam Niesner Realtor”. My first office was in the basement of 2060 Broad Street. Larry Kratt was a salesman for a while after which time he went out on his own. In 1959 John Kaufman (John was born in a neighboring village of Zichydorf and came to Regina with his parents at an early age) joined me to open an insurance department with John as a partner and manager. John did not retire until 2002. We sold the Niesner Kaufman Insurance Agency to the Galons. Tom Chadwick, my son-in law, Barbara Anne’s husband, joined our Real Estate firm in 1976 and retired on January 1st, 2002. Adam Jr. joined the firm on January 2nd, 1980 forming his own management company in 1991, to take over the active management of all the related companies now known as “The Niesner Group of Companies”.
Property Developments, Niesner-Kratt and Adam Niesner Realtor continued along these lines every year building commercial buildings, warehouses, etc…and also purchased some properties when the opportunity presented itself.
In 1963 Norad Enterprises Ltd. was incorporated. The principals of this company were Norman and Rose Baker, Joan and myself. The first building this company built was the Capri Apartments on College Avenue. It was a 9 suite apartment block build for $30,000.00 plus $12,500.00 for the cost of the land. In 1964 in partnership with John R. Schmidt we built the Spanish Villas and several houses with the materials we had left over from the villas. After a few years John moved to B.C. and I continued on to construct apartment blocks with Norad Enterprises Ltd. and the other companies.
In 1965 along with managing “Adam Niesner Realtor Ltd.” sales department and Property Management for Norad Enterprises Ltd., Niesner-Kratt Enterprises, and Property Developments Ltd. I supervised the construction of 2 – 24 suite apartment blocks on the 2800 and 2900 block Dewdney Avenue. For the next four years apartment blocks as well as commercial buildings including warehouses and office buildings were constructed or purchased until 1969 when Real Estate fell on bad times for a period of about 2 years. I can recall one month in 1969 when we had 52 vacant suites which was a huge revenue loss. This period did not affect our lifestyle as our Real Estate Portfolio was performing quite well and when the upturn came we were ready to forge ahead in construction once again. It was not until 1972 that business had recovered and vacancies were at a manageable level.
CONSTRUCTION OF CENTRE POINTE PLAZA
In 1978-1979 Property Developments Ltd. and Norad Enterprises Ltd., each of which I enjoyed 50% ownership and A.K. Holdings in which I had no interest in, (owned by Andrew Krattenthaler, my uncle and a partner in Property Developments Ltd.) had purchased a land package of 280 ft. of frontage on the 2100 block Broad Street. I considered the idea of building a 19 story high-rise as there was MURB money available from Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. However, I could not convince my partners to proceed with this project as they thought it was overly ambitious. So I contacted developers in Winnipeg who showed an interest in Leasing the land on a 99 year lease and constructing the 19 story apartment and office high-rise and parkade to be financed with MURB funds. Initially I committed myself to purchase 25% of the units of the building Co. and then undertook to sell 50% of the units to the public wit the developer keeping 25% of the units.
A new corporation was incorporated NORPAK Ltd. to be owners of the land. Norpak was owned by Norad, Property Developments and A.K. Holdings. The rental for all of the land to Centre Pointe Plaza was to be at $5,000.00 per month for the first 35 years and after that there was to be periodic rental increases. The building was constructed in 1979 and mostly rented to seniors. The office area consisting of about 11,000 sq. ft. was partially occupied by Adam Niesner Realty Ltd. and Niesner Kaufman Agencies. The balance was leased to various other companies.
The building had been designed to be heated by electric heating which in hindsight was an error. Over the next few years I purchased the units of the developer as well as some units owned by individual investors. As a result, I was in control of the property. Rental of office space then fell on bad times and we also experienced some apartment vacancies and our annual electric heating costs were $50,000.00 higher than if the building was being heated by gas. We showed a loss year after year. Norpak did not suffer quite as much as they received the $5,000.00 land rent every month. After 12 years the Centre Pointe Plaza was sold for the price of the existing mortgage and the only equity left was that in the land which is owned to this day by Norpak. The project originally cost $6,000,000.00 plus and was eventually sold to a new owner after repossession by CMHC for $3,300,000.00, a very good bargain. However, the building was still plagued by the electric heating system. With lower interest rates and a smaller capital investment it must now show an annual profit.
When I was 45 years of age I weighed 230 lbs. Since my height was 5’5” I was almost as wide as I was tall and quite frankly I was obese. So I decided to become a very active jogger and made my base at the Regina YMCA and stayed with that plan for nearly the next 20 years. On the first day at the YMCA I met an acquaintance, George Tkach who was a practicing lawyer, and not inclined to be very tactful. He said to me “Niesner, go home. You will never make it.”
Within a period of about 18 months I had my weight down to 170 lbs and was running 4 miles in about 30 minutes. One day on a 20 mile run, to my delight I passed my friend George Tkach and beat him to the finish line. Overall I made some very good friends at the Y particularly Roy Wellman, George Tkach, Frank Bourassa, Moe Abed, John Molter, and many others. I attribute my health and good being to the time I spent jogging, even though I feel I may have overdone it at times and weakened my lower back, which has limited me to only walking on a daily basis. But I am proud that I was a long time member of the Regina YMCA and recipient of the “Jogger of the Year” Award in 1973.
The years 1959 to 1969 were probably the busiest, most productive and satisfying that I can recall. During these years I was kept extremely busy in construction primarily with apartment blocks for our own companies as well as for the customers. I also built what I considered to be our prime family home at 5 Bole Place during this time, which Joan decorated and furnished with great delight.
The children were healthy and growing up while attaining average grades in school.
I was very active for many years in organized real estate being on the Board of Directors of the Regina Real Estate Board for 10 years and President of the Board in 1971. In 1972 I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Real Estate Association becoming the President of the Saskatchewan Real Estate Association in 1976 and was elected to the Board of the Canadian Real Estate Association, representing the Province of Saskatchewan in the year 1977. In March of 1993 I was given an Honorary Life Membership in the Saskatchewan Real Estate Association.
The Adam Niesner Group of Companies consisting of:
– Adam Niesner Realty (1991) Ltd.
– Niesner Kaufman Agencies
– Norad Enterprises Ltd.
– Property Developments Ltd.
– Niesner-Kratt Enterprises Ltd.
– South Towne Developments Ltd.
– Triple “N” Investments Ltd.
– Total Financial Services Ltd.
– Broad Street Developments Ltd.
– K & N Enterprises
– Securegard Public Storage Inc.
– Victoria Acres Developments Corporation
– K & N Oil Developments
– The Niesner Group of Companies
Over a 50 year span, we have evolved to the point where customers can now complete an impressive number of transactions in one office. Residential Real Estate, Commercial Sales, Property Management, Life Insurance, General Insurance, Loans and most recently Financial Planning, as well as development and construction. Adam Niesner Realty (1991) Ltd. was incorporated in 1991. President – Adam Niesner Jr., and this company is now the management company of the Niesner Group of Companies and
I am now primarily acting in an advisory capacity, taking the time to enjoy my grandchildren and enjoying the summers at my cottage at B-Say-Tah and warm winters in Palm Springs.
Since Adam Adam, Jr. has taken over the active management he has been directly instrumental in adding a number of companies under the umbrella of the Niesner Group of Companies. These include:
– 573600 Saskatchewan Ltd.
– 593426 Saskatchewan Ltd.
– Blue Chip Properties Ltd.
– 615237 Saskatchewan Ltd.
Each one of these associated companies owns a number of properties benefiting the family.
Credit must be given to Addie for his outstanding work ethic, diligence, loyalty and dedication to the family interests.
A successful retired businessman and friend Michael Fellinger and I have mused many times over our good fortune with the opportunities that were presented to us because our parents decided to come to Canada.
I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. I have been blessed with good health. I had a good mother and a good father. I have never gone hungry for the lack of food and I was never cold for the lack of clothing. I always had a home and a warm bed. I had good teachers, I had and still have good business partners. I have the best wife, I love and am proud of my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all my family.