Ely Historic Rehab with Community – James Drug

Ely Historic Rehab with Community – James Drug


What’s old is
new again in Ely. Tanner Ott, this has got
a lot to do with you. Well, we’ve been
working on a handful of historic buildings in Ely. This one behind us
is the James Drug. It was built in 1887. It was the James Drug
business for over 100 years. That’s what the
town knows it by, and we still call it
the James Drug building. It was covered with log
siding a couple years ago when we purchased it, and that
was the first thing we did, was taking the logs
off the building. And then we went
to put insulation in, new heating system,
storefront renovations based off old photos, and trying to
find tenants to occupy them. And then in summary,
that’s kind of our model. Buy a building, fix it
up to historic standards, and rent it out. I got to ask the big why. You know, what are
your goals when you look at a historic building? Why invest in it? There’s a few
things I would say. One of the things is,
historic buildings, we do have a passion for that. We have a passion for
seeing the changes and seeing people using the
spaces when they’re done. I think it’s one of the
most rewarding parts, is just having a grand
opening of a business and having tons
of people outside. And, like, the relighting of the
theater, the first day Northern Grounds was opening,
you couldn’t even– couldn’t even walk around. It’s just fun to see the changes
happen and new businesses opening and the economic
side of it, too, so. And when you do a
project like this, do you do it for the tenant? Do you do it– what– how far do
you bring a building when you are
imagining its new use? Well, in the
beginning, we start to get to know the
building by taking off the layers, whether it
was paneling or carpets or just figuring out what was
this building originally like. And sometimes, that’s gone,
but sometimes you’ll get lucky and something’s hiding
behind one of the layers. So we’ll get the
walls ready for paint. We’ll get the heating done,
watertight with the roof and windows. And sometimes, if
there’s an old floor, we’ll refinish the floor. But that’s basically what we do. [music playing]

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