On November 13, 2015 Restore Oregon presented the DeMuro Awards to seven extraordinary historic rehabilitation projects. The award is named in honor of Art DeMuro whose redevelopment of historic properties such as the White Stag Block set the standard for quality, creativity, persistence, and business acumen. This is the fourth in our series of posts about these projects.
Occasionally, preservation is mis-characterized as gentrification. The Hotel Julian Apartments in Corvallis illustrate how well historic buildings can serve the under-served. The Julian Hotel, was constructed in 1892 as the first brick hotel in Corvallis, and has endured as one of the most prominent structures downtown.
In 1984 the hotel was converted into Section 8 housing, listed in the National Register, and protected by a historic conservation easement. However over time, deferred maintenance took a toll.
In 2012, Northwest Housing Alternatives and Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services joined forces to save the building and its 35 affordable housing units.
The building envelope was renewed and strengthened with work to the masonry, windows, cornice, roof, a voluntary seismic upgrade, and more. The ground floor retail space was reconfigured to improve the commercial storefront, and a separate ADA-accessible resident entry was created.
The renovation supported 21 full-time construction jobs. The total economic benefit is calculated to be over $5M to the local economy. It also added over $2million dollars to the value of the property.
The most exceptional aspect of the project was that it gave dignity back to its inhabitants and to the building. In its pre-renovation state, the building was downtrodden, shabby and smelled bad. Residents had no motivation to treat their surroundings with respect, since the physical environment reinforced the message that they were not worthy of something better.
The development team brought the building back to a state that reflected its historic prominence and made residents proud to live there.
Restore Oregon Executive Director Peggy Moretti attended the grand opening of the Julian this spring and can attest to the delight this project brought to the community – it was all over the faces of the residents and civic leaders.
For demonstrating so well that preservation benefits people at all economic levels; And for bringing grace and dignity back to downtown Corvallis, the building, and to its residents, we were proud to present the DeMuro Award to the Hotel Julian Apartments.
Willamette Neighborhood Housing
Northwest Housing Alternatives
Carleton Hart Architecture
Venerable Properties, Historic Consultant
Paul M. Falsetto Architect LLC, Historic Consultant
TM Rippey Consulting Engineers