CROWN POINT – Construction will soon be underway on one of the city’s “most significant buildings on the square.”
The Crown Point Redevelopment Commission approved a $100,000 facade grant during its meeting Monday that will contribute to nearly $600,000 worth of renovation work to downtown’s three-story Old Town Square Antique Mall.
Exterior restoration work is needed to the historic buildings of the sprawling antique mall at 101-107 W. Joliet St.
“One hundred thousand is a very significant grant. It will be very helpful for them,” said Commission Chairman Andrew Kyres.
Petitioner Jim Keilman, of R. Keilman Associates, representing building owner Randy Sekerez, told the commission the two are excited “to do something at long last“ to the former Antique Mall, which officially closed May 31.
“We want to restore this building. The owner is anxious to really get this iconic building back to its glory,” Keilman said. “It is going to go through some major work.”
The total facade project is composed of three buildings with three addresses, Keilman said during a presentation to the commission. The three facades include one on Joliet Street, one on Main Street and one on the alleyway, which includes the rear of the building.
“It is the largest historic building on the square — other than the courthouse. So, it is significant. It is a significant building,” Keilman said.
Improvement work needed to be done on north and east facade of the Antique Mall total to $498,148 with the south alley totaling $91,189, according to cost estimates presented by Keilman.
Renovations to the exterior of the building include restoring the brick, exterior masonry, windows, storefront glass, signs and cornice trim that tops the building. The store front would be replaced and a new fabric canopy would be installed. The railing around the stairwell will be taken out and replaced with period wrought iron to match new hardwood period-type architectural doors.
The iconic blue-painted “Antique Mall” arrow will also be removed from the side of the building.
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Keilman noted that the owner is still in discussion with the Historic Preservation Commission about the windows of the building and are waiting for the group to grant a certificate of appropriateness for the facade renovations.
In a previous Historic Preservation Commission meeting, members expressed concerns about the proposed installation of dark bronze anodized aluminum windows.
Currently, white wood-framed windows face Crown Point’s downtown square. Veering away from that look would appear too modern and commercialized, members stated.
“This is one of the most significant buildings on the square and we have been waiting a long time for something to come forward and be done,” said Commission Chairman Paul Bremer. “We want to do it the right way. We are trying to maintain the integrity of the square.”
Keilman said “we will work closely with the Historic Preservation” and Brad Miller, director of the Northwest Field Office of Indiana Landmarks, to finalize some of the last details needed to get final approvals for the exterior design of the Crown Point building.
During Monday’s meeting, Sekerez mentioned the western-most building that abuts Prime Steakhouse. He said he does not own the third floor of that area, which he claims needs extensive repairs.
“The portion of the building is in horrible condition. The windows are boarded up in the front and the back. The masonry is falling apart,” Sekerez said, adding that repairs are estimated to be around $50,000. “We don’t want to restore the whole building and leave (that portion) in need of repair. We feel like we need to fix it.”
Sekerez said he has talked to the owner, who expresses interest in fixing it but not having the finances to do so.
Crown Point Mayor David Uran said he appreciated the interest in trying to help another local business owner but told the commission he would be cautious to provide any money toward something that “unfortunately” would not be able to contribute to downtown in means of living quarters or business that would create jobs.
The commission did not grant additional funding.
Though the future use of the buildings have not been determined, construction on the exterior of the Antique Mall is expected to begin this summer.