The city of Delaware’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved changes to one of the downtown’s oldest buildings.
The building, at 18-20 W. William St., currently houses Collective Hair Artistry.
City development planner Dianne Guenther said the two-story, single-family home was built in 1865-1866, and it was subdivided into commercial units in the 1970s, with two rear brick additions. The current owner purchased the building in 1999, and his hair salon and offices cover the entire first floor, while the second floor is residential. A porch, balcony and columns, which were not original to the building, have been installed twice over the years.
Next door, the West End Grill closed in 2013. The building was sold at auction in 2014, but condemned and demolished in 2015.
“Regrettably, the demolition of the vacant building has resulted in unintended damage to the now-exposed east elevation of the main building and rear brick addition of 18-20 W. William St.,” reads the city’s staff report.
“It’s been unfortunate that the owner has sustained damage to his building because of the demolition,” Guenther said. “The city wants to commend the owner for all of his efforts.”
“It’s been sitting there a while,” owner Jack Kahaian said of the ruins next to his building. “I don’t want to get crazy and overdo it, because there might be another building next to it. I just want to shore it up, and make sure it’s nice. I’m open to anything.”
Kahaian proposed several improvements and repairs to the building — east elevation brick and masonry restoration; east elevation second-story soffit repair; east rear brick addition roof replacement; and west rear addition extension removal.
Of the latter, it was noted that the one-story 12- by 12-foot wood frame, metal-roofed, vinyl-sided extension has been repeatedly hit by vehicles, causing structural damage to the original building.
“Due to the deteriorated and damaged condition of the structure, the owner is proposing to demolish and remove this rear addition extension,” said the staff report. “The newly exposed north elevation of the rear brick addition will be repaired as needed (brick and mortar, downspouts, etc.) to make the rear wall sound and weather-tight.”
Kahaian said parking spaces may replace the west rear addition.
The commission unanimously approved the repairs.
“You have one of the oldest buildings downtown and it’s in a very visible location,” chairman Roger Koch told Kahaian. “I think you have been a good steward of this building.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.
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