Commission OKs plan to remodel McClellan’s for farmers market

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Washington’s Historic Preservation Commission, during its meeting Tuesday, unanimously approved a certificate of appropriateness for the Washington Harbor District Alliance to make major modifications to an empty building on West Main Street.

WHDA plans to relocate its farmers market inside the former McClellan’s department store on West Main Street. The relocated market, which has been an outside venue since it was formed, will have a new name and focus — Harbor District Market. WHDA received funding from the North Carolina General Assembly to help with relocating and expanding the market, according to City Manager Bobby Roberson. WHDA is raising funds to help pay for the project, according to John Butler, WHDA director.

WHDA estimates the modifications would cost about $203,500, according to its application for the certificate of appropriateness. Proposed changes include a new awning for the front façade of the building, an awning at the rear of the building, expanding the loading dock at the rear of the building, installing roll-up doors, painting the brickwork on the front facade, installing an awning at the rear of the building, installing a wheelchair ramp at the rear of the building and reconfiguring the display windows at the front of the building.

Butler told the commission the existing building is an “eyesore” and WHDA wants to “reset the clock on this with a very strong facelift and design.” He also said the project likely will be done in phases as funding becomes available. Butler said WHDA wanted the commission’s input on its plan to remodel the McClellan’s building.

Overall, commission members voiced their support for the proposal, with the only item of major concern for some members being the painting of the brickwork on the front façade. The commission’s guidelines discourage painting brickwork. William Kenner, the commission’s vice chairman, said painting the brickwork would result in moisture being trapped in the bricks, eventually causing them to deteriorate.

The commission, after debate, decided painting the brickwork would enhance the project’s design scheme, which commission members said is a good one. The commission prefers a lime-based paint to be used, instructing city staff to work with WHDA on exploring paint options.

In an interview earlier this summer, Chris Furlough, WHDA president, said the indoor market would house about 50 to 60 vendors throughout the year. A climate-controlled site for the market would help keep produce fresher longer, according to Furlough. A market that operates throughout the year would allow more time for vendors to sell their wares, he said.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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