December 05, 2017

Building News

by Alan Beatts

Well, there's a lot in this month's newsletter, so I'm going to keep this short.  Don't worry though, I'll have much more news and information about our new building in the next newsletter.  But, here's the quick version.  The previous owner and occupant of the retail space has packed all his stuff and is out.  I've met both of the residential tenants, and they both seem like lovely people.  I've also met most of the neighbors, and they're equally nice.

So now we're really digging into getting the work done.  Weekend before last we removed the decades of ivy from the backyard and cleaned it up.  Turns out that, under a foot of leaves, mulch and dirt, there's a concrete pad that covers most of the yard.  One of our next outside jobs is going to be breaking that out and hauling it away.  Once that's done, we can start the hardscape (probably dry-laid brick), and then get working on the planters and plantings.  Our gardener and designer, Melinda Rose <>, and I will be working on the layout over the next few weeks.

Inside, it's demolition time.  Last weekend we took out the ill-advised acoustical ceiling and much of the drop ceiling as well.  There's still a bit more to go, but most of the "bones" of the building are visible,   and they look pretty good.  Beams are oversized by current standards, a full 2" thick, and old-growth, clear fir.  There don't seem to be any notable problems other than some fire damage in the stairway area (probably dating to 1973).  I still need to open up the walls in a couple of places to see what's there, but the building looks to be as solid as I thought it was.

I met with our architect, Kevin Short <>, today and he agrees with me that the place looks really good.  I'm still "learning" the building -- figuring out what was done, why and when (with a great deal of help from our historian, Zachary Harper).  I'm sure that there'll be some surprises as we go along (because there always are) but I don't think that there are going to be any bad ones.

The question that I'm asked the most is when we'll be moving.  Obviously we're not doing that until we've got all the work done at the place.  Since some of my plans include things like an ADA accessible restroom, refinishing the floors, and building all new bookshelves, the construction isn't going to be a fast process.  So, at this point, there are too many variables to make even an educated guess at how long the process will take.  That said, I'm hoping for a May opening but, please, don't hold me to that.

In closing, I want to thank all the people who have helped out with the work so far.  They are, in no particular order: Melinda, Eloise, Garrett, Jane, Laura, Claud, Russ, Colleen, Marie, Jay, Carl, April, Kestrel, Starling, Zach, Dave, Elizabeth, Emily, Ramon and, last but far from least, Salem and Jude.  Without their generous, cheerful, and profoundly aggressive help, I would still be standing in the middle of the backyard, knee deep in ivy, and cursing nature.

-- Alan Beatts

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