Preservation Merit Award
for the preservation and rehabiliation of the 1906 Duane Building, 397-401 Broadway, Lorain
Built in 1906, the Duane Building is one of the oldest commercial structures in Downtown Lorain. The building served as a center of commerce in the City's historic downtown for many years, housing ten apartments, commercial space and a warehouse--but eventually it was abandoned and fell into a state of disrepair. In February of 2002 , fire destroyed portions of the upper floors of the Duane Building, but the sandstone block foundation, exterior walls, and steel beams inside the structure were relatively undamaged. Veard-Duane, Limited purchased the building in May of that year for $32,500 and secured Arkinetics Inc., to complete architectural designs needed to for a complete rehabilitation.
The final product of this project—a historically renovated building, true to the design of the original building and central to the City of Lorain—is an elegant example of a public/private partnership that worked. Jon Veard [“Vay-yard”] of United Property Management, with guidance from Gary Fischer of Arkinetics, and with financial incentives from the City of Lorain, rehabilitated a vacant, fire-gutted building to its former grandeur.
The integrity of the original design was re-established by repairing or reinstalling key architectural elements including the stairway, skylights, and the sandstone exterior, using historic photographs. In addition, balusters, moldings, and a skylight that had been painted and covered by a drop ceiling, were rehabilitated.
Following the $2 million project, the Duane Building reopened in October of 2004. The original ten apartments and two store fronts were redesigned to include 19 apartments; six commercial spaces and a restaurant. According to then-Mayor Craig Foltin, "The resurrection of the Duane Building is a major step towards the revitalization of downtown Lorain." The building has remained fully occupied since completion of the project.
The preservation and rehabilitation of the Duane Building is a classic example of what can be accomplished when public and private partners join forces with a common purpose. The City provided nearly $1.7 million in Community Development Block Grant loan funds and the project qualified for the federal rehabilitation tax credit.
Click here for a list of past State Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.