Substantial changes planned for exteriors of downtown buildings

Published 6:51 am Sunday, September 15, 2019

Washington’s Historic Preservation Commission, during its meeting Tuesday, will consider two requests for improving exteriors of downtown buildings.

Marita Egli is seeking a certificate of appropriateness to make four significant modifications to the former Tassel’s building at 127 W. Main St. Kevin Rawls is seeking a certificate of appropriateness to make seven substantial changes to the former Washington Jewelers building at 183 W. Main St.

Emily Rebert, the city’s community-development planner, is cautiously optimistic these two projects and others such as the conversion of the former Bank of America building into micro-distillery, restaurant and boutique hotel could produce similar restoration projects in the future. “That’s the hope. … There is a lot of movement,” she said.

Egli and her husband Stuart plan to use the first floor of the former Tassel’s building as retail space and renovate the second floor so it can house five apartments. “We’ve been trying to recruit breweries and/or restaurants for the retail space, had have several investors check out the building, and the common denominator was ‘water view.’ … All of these prospective tenants asked if we could offer them a more open view to the river, without it, there was very little to no interest in renting the building. That’s why we decided to enhance the back of the building. This way, we could have a fair chance to rent the space, rather than for it to remain empty,” Egli wrote in a letter to city officials.

S&M Enterprises of Washington LLC, listed as owner of the building, proposes the following changes:

  • build two balconies on the second floor;
  • convert several windows into doorways;
  • introduce two garage doors to the first floor;
  • relocated the HVAC system to the higher roof.

Rawls, who lives in Greenville, proposes the following changes to building — owned by 183 West Main LLC — that once house Washington Jewelers:

  • restore primary façade to its original aesthetic;
  • install new windows to replace the existing decorative plywood;
  • add windows to the second-floor east-side façade;
  • build a deck on the first-floor south façade;
  • add a door to the first-floor south façade;
  • build a balcony on second-floor south façade;
  • convert a window into a door on second-floor south façade.

Rawls said he will provide specifics about plans for the former Washington Jewelers property after the commission’s meeting Tuesday.

There is a project underway to convert the former Fowle Building at the intersection of Respess and West Main Street into a micro-brewery (ground floor) and apartments (upper floors).

The Historic Preservation Commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 102 E. Second St.