ST. CLAIRSVILLE New life is coming to the Clarendon Hotel, with the purchase of the building by the Historic Clarendon LLC, a company from Louisville, Ohio, owned by Joe Parsons, Dave Jursik and Steve Coon and dedicated to restoring historic structures to productive use.
They will pick up where the city left off in 2009. They hope to complete the project by June 2015, with 12-18 long-term apartments housed in the building.
The announcement was made Tuesday at the mayor's office. Community leaders, city council members, the Community Improvement Corporation and the Architectural Board of Review were among the guests.
ST.?CLAIRSVILLE Mayor Robert Vincenzo with Steve Coon, one of the purchasers of the Clarendon Hotel.
ROBERT A. DEFRANK
"Today's announcement is hopefully the culmination of what everybody does, putting things together to try to make the city a better place," said City Administrator Dennis Bigler, adding that they marked the culmination of years of work, patience and persistence.
Mayor Robert Vincenzo welcomed the project to town.
"This is really a great day," said Vincenzo, reflecting on the years of frustration at seeing the potential of the building going unused. "For years we've sat across from this building and looked at the building over there deteriorating rapidly."
He added that this piece of the city's history will return to its accustomed use in time for the high demand. He said the Clarendon will remain a fixture in town for years to come."
"The outside of the building is in great shape. We now are going to do the inside," he said. "We are very indebted to Mr. Coon's organization. They saw the historic value."
He said this would be one of the high points of his 22 years as mayor.
Bigler also pointed out the restoration group's high standards and past accomplishments in other communities. He also spoke of the city's devotion to improvement projects, adding that the city of St. Clairsville wrote the grant to restore the recently-opened Belmont County Jail. New construction has also begun in town, with designs to fit the city's architecture.
Coon thanked the city and credited its dedication to preserving structures such as the Clarendon.
"Hat's off to the community for you guys saving the building. I know how tough this fight is," he said. "The easy route is tear it down and hopefully something will happen, and you guys were strong enough as a community to come together to save this building."
He noted the energy that has already gone into the building.
"We're going to take it to the next level, and it's going to be something everybody's going to be proud of," he said. "That's a historic landmark in this downtown community."
He added that he was confident the unit would lease out before construction was completed. Talks are also underway with a restaurant that may install a facility.
Parsons noted the importance of the private/public partnership in making these projects a reality.
"It takes that civic involvement to get these projects going and get it to closure," he said. "This is by far the nicest of any of the buildings that we've restored."
Jursik also thanked the welcoming and hospitable community.
Preparation of construction plans has begun and work could start this summer. This is estimated to be a $2 million propjet.
Vincenzo stressed this development is part of a planning process that started in 1988 with the streetscape project, the building restoration/facade project of the early 1990s, and the creation of the Architectural Board of Review. The National Register of Historic Places designated the site in the mid 1990s. The area also saw the Courtyard Housing Project in 1995 and many other grants and projects since.
The city purchased the Clarendon in 2001 and began the process of obtaining funds for its repair, such as $100,000 previously received from the Governor's Office of Appalachia. Efforts also including forming a city CIC and two private companies to access the complex funding plan. State Historic Tax Credits also allowed the project to move forward.
Bigler thanked a number of people including his staff, Jeff Wodo of Wodo Development and Dave Mertz of Belmont College.
DeFrank can be reached at email@example.com