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A proposal for $75,000 in façade improvements is planned for the First Street structure

A historic building in downtown Newberg is slated to undergo some facade improvements with the possible help of grants from the state.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - The historic Bunn Building, which sits adjacent to city hall on First Street in Newberg, has been recommended for a grant to restore the brick facade of the structure.

Community Development Director Doug Rux said the Bunn Building, which sits directly adjacent to City Hall, is owned by local attorney Demetri Tsohantaridis and the Newberg Downtown Coalition is working with him to restore the brick facade.

"Eventually whatever they want to do they will have to talk to the city," Rux said.

According to the grant application summary, the masonry of the brick facade of the building has deteriorated over time and Tsohantaridis wants to restore it. The 4,000-square-foot two-story building was built in 1911 and now houses Barley and Vine Tavern.

The Bunn building was rated as Eligible/Contributing in the 2016 Reconnaissance Level survey performed by Summit Solutions Group for its potential for historic designation. This building sits in the heart of downtown Newberg near the intersection on Howard and First streets and is surrounded by buildings of brick that have a similar aesthetic quality.

Mike Ragsdale, executive director for the Newberg Downtown Coalition, said the project is a "pretty straight forward" facade improvement project.

"The project is just a simple updating and cleaning up of the facade," he said. "The bricks are old and tired."

He added that there will be no changes inside the building, just refinishing the exterior to make it "stable and good looking."

All told, the improvement project is slated to cost just under $75,000. Part of that is intended to come through a state grant program called Diamonds in the Rough, which Ragsdale said is specifically designed for facade programs in downtowns around the state. The maximum that program can offer is $20,000, which this application is requesting. Ragsdale said the rest of the funding would come from Tsohantaridis.

Although it is an old building, it is not on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the application summary, the original doors and windows of the building have been replaced, but at an unknown date. Canopies on the windows and front facade were also removed around 2013, with the canopy anchors left behind.

"The project aims to aesthetically restore aspects of the front facade that are in state of disrepair," the summary states. "The brick and mortar are severely dilapidated in some places, old and crumpling. We want to restore this brick work to a more stable and historical state."

The upstairs of the building was originally office space, but has been transformed into apartments.

The list of all the building's uses was not easy to find, the application summary states, especially in the time before it was an attorney's office some quarter century ago. The Bunn Building was originally known to be a dentist's office that occupied the whole building. Using old George Fox University magazines, the coalition discovered it was Jones Sheet Metal Works in 1929, followed by a barber shop in 1930. It then became a home appliance store in the late 1940s, and then Newberg Interiors in the 1970s.

Repairing the exterior of the Bunn Building falls within the NDC's mission to support the city's downtown improvement plan. The goal of the plan is to restore and rehabilitate historic buildings around downtown.

"The Bunn Building is one of our high priority candidates because it sits in the heart of downtown right next to Newberg's City Hall and it's a place frequently visited by residents and tourists in our community," the summary states. "By restoring the aesthetic character of this building we advance both our own mission and the Newberg Downtown Improvement Plan's goals."


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