The work was anything but simple. "It was in really bad shape, so there was a lot of demolition to do inside the building," said David Spencer, with Shannon Waltchack. Spencer represented the tenant Action Inc. in the deal and is trying to lease the first floor space that is still available. The building now includes a new sprinkler system, electrical service, HV AC and much more. Spencer said the work done by Cooper Construction was incredible.
In the first floor space, you can see original O'Neal Steel, and a lot of work was done to remove the plaster from the walls to expose the original brick. Tucker said the building held Parisian from the 1930S until the late 1980s when it closed. The building was vacant when Ladd purchased it in the 2000S and until work began on it in 2016. "It was velY labor intensive to clean up the floors, especially on the second and third floors," Spencer said. He said it took nearly two weeks worth of sanding and stripping work to get layers of roofing tar and other things off. Now the floors are the original hardwood that has been refinished. In addition to a new roof on the building, there were also four skylights created that allow natural light into the new office space. "We punched a hole through the middle of the third floor to allow that light to filter to the second floor space as well," Tucker said. A spiral staircase now creates a connection between the two floors that didn't previously exist.
The nearly 14,000 square feet between the second and third floors is now linked to Action's existing space in the Paramount building next door, which doubles the company's footprint in downtown. "We punched back through the old openings from when the buildings used to be connected historically," Spencer said. Ramps were put in that allow the company to move back and forth between the buildings seamlessly.
The outside of the building was restored to its stucco look from the 1950S, with brand new windows and a refinished awning on the front. Spencer said they originally thought the first floor space should include retail or a restaurant, but he also thinks it would work well as an office space.
Bringing the Parisian building back to life is just one of a wave of redevelopment projects in the city center. In just the few surrounding blocks, work is finishing on massive projects at the Pizitz, the Thomas Jefferson Tower, and the Empire building. Smaller but not insignificant renovations have been happening at the Graves building on Third Avenue North, the Ideal building on 19th Street, the Massey Business College building on Third Avenue North, and the row of buildings in the 200 block of 20th Street. Brokers say similar activity should continue through 2017, but they also want to see office and apartment vacancy rates improve as more supply hits the market.