“Rehabilitating Downtown, one building at a time; Part 1”
Historic Staunton Foundation’s Brown Bag Walking Tour for June will focus on the rehabilitation of downtown, one building at a time. We will hear about the process of rehabilitating two different, historically commercial buildings on Middlebrook Road, from the perspective of the owner / developer. Each of the buildings we will tour were carefully and thoughtfully reimagined to include commercial uses alone or a combination of commercial and residential reuses. Building owners will be on hand to discuss their process, their challenges, and to answer questions about taking on such a project.
Our first stop will be 3-5 Middlebrook Road, the former location of the M. Erskine Miller & Brothers Wholesale Grocers and Merchandise Brokers, established in 1871 as Staunton’s first wholesale grocer. In addition to the grocery wholesale business, the firm was largely interested in the New River coalfields. Owner Seth Liskey extensively rehabilitated the interior to include office and commercial uses on the first floor, with a loft apartment above the street level.
Secondly, we will visit 501 Middlebrook Road, located outside the Historic Districts. The project combines the former Staunton City stables, designed by T.J. Collins, with a modern companion building, constructed on the remnants of the T.J. Collins power house, demolished by the City in the 1980’s. Owner Paul Borzelleca’s rehabilitation re-creates the original courtyard configuration of the stables and power house and successfully integrates historic and modern architecture. Both the Liskey and Borzelleca projects feature solar panel installations on the building roof; historic rehabilitation is a proven sustainable practice and when combined with renewable energy systems it truly brings the past to the 21st century.
Please join us as we review and celebrate the continuing evolution of Staunton’s downtown. Meet at the base of the Sear’s Hill Bridge, just west of the train station.