By Frank Lewis
Almost every community has one: the local historic landmark that has fallen on hard times. Whether due to changing market conditions, neglectful building owners, or a lack of awareness about development incentives, buildings that once reflected community pride now reflect the neighborhood disinvestment the community has suffered.
However, while the outward signs of peeling paint and broken glass have caused people to dismiss a building’s potential, one organization has worked to actively highlight that potential, connect redevelopment-minded owners with the resources needed to rehabilitate the building, and encourage the owners to embark on a redevelopment that gives these deserving buildings a second chance. That organization is Heritage Ohio of which Main Street Portsmouth is a member.
Two local properties have been selected as a part of Heritage Ohio’s Top Preservation Opportunities Program. Those properties are the Candyland building and the Daehler building.
“Our Top Preservation Opportunities program gives Heritage Ohio the opportunity to come in, assess the building, and educate the building owner about incentives available that make redevelopment possible,” Joyce Barrett, executive director of Heritage Ohio, said. “When we visit with the owners, more often than not they’re hearing about these incentives for the first time, and how these incentives help make rehabilitation possible. What’s exciting is when our Top Opportunity visit translates into a multi-million dollar project because we’ve empowered the building owner with the knowledge to take on a challenging, but doable, project.”
Since 2007, Heritage Ohio has recognized underutilized, but historically significant, buildings through its Top Preservation Opportunities program. This year’s list focused on landmarks located in Ohio Main Street communities, including Portsmouth.
Also selected along with the two Portsmouth properties were the former Otto Brothers Department Store in Marietta and the Humphrey Hughes Block in Van Wert.
“At this time Main Street Portsmouth is excited to provide building owners with resources to expertise (architects, accounts, bankers, etc) in the form of site visits and discussion about incentives. The site visits will help building owners to create or focus on a plan for the building’s end use once rehabilitation is completed” says Sarah Surina Main Street Portsmouth director.
“The Candy Land Building and the Daehler Building are both great “OPPORTUNITIES” to redevelop and create a unique destination for downtown Portsmouth as the place to live, work, and play.”
Francesca Hartop says “We are very appreciative of this recognition by Heritage Ohio. It is an exciting time to be a part of Portsmouth’s recovery and growth. We look forward to their support in finding creative solutions that save the architectural treasures of our area, while supporting our town’s emerging character: College, Art, Life.”
Each building owner will receive two site visits at the building, a basic pro forma outlining redevelopment revenue and expenses, and access to redevelopment expertise. Heritage Ohio will continue to provide assistance to the owners and track the progress of redevelopment projects on their website and in their publications.
“As we travel the state we see so much potential with historic buildings that sit vacant and underutilized. We want our Top Opportunities list to help showcase that potential, so people stop seeing the building as a neighborhood eyesore, and instead see it as full of potential,” Barrett said.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.