A work in progress – June 2007 photo – Jeff Struble and his “crumbling wall”
Today I’m featuring a guest post by the new director of the Plaza District Main Street Program:
The Crumbling Wall…It’s Just a Façade.
Three years ago, Jeff Struble purchased a series of buildings on NW 16th street in the historic Plaza District. Despite the once vibrant commercial district’s decline and high vacancy, Struble envisioned the potential of these 1924 buildings. Struble, joining the efforts of the Plaza District Association, began to rebuild, renovate and revitalize the buildings and area. Faced with moving truck loads of junk and debris from the site, Struble Construction began the monstrous renovations.
The brick façade was painted and deteriorating. Struble removed and recycled existing brick by simply turning the brick around to expose the unpainted side, practically rebuilding a failing façade. For a touch of whimsy, a cast stone detail with both the year of the building construction and the year of its rebirth was added. Windows and doors have been replaced and updated with commercial quality. The southern portion of the building appeared to be a two-story structure but was instead “al fresco” with no roof or floor and remnants of tile where a bathroom once belonged on the 2nd story. The owners have since installed a roof and flooring among other additions. Various businesses have embraced the now nearly full district, and moved into the “Struble Studios”.
Interestingly, in today’s economy we have faced a crumbling wall. Market fiascos, the energy crisis, and floundering business has overtime deteriorated our nation’s strong façade. Like in Struble’s building, change can overcome this deterioration with vision and creativity. Our nation needs to turn our bricks to the unpainted side, use our available resources, our creativity, careful investing, and patience to achieve that strong façade. Struble’s vision has marked change in the entire district, where one can physically see this change for the better as well feel the anticipated energy for the future. A crumbling wall is possible to overcome, take a drive near the 1700 block of NW 16th, and see for yourself.
Plaza District Association