Salisbury approves $150,000 grant for restoration of 160-year-old building downtown

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council approved an $150,000 Downtown Revitalization Grant for a restoration project on a historic store building during its meeting on Tuesday, June 18.

The grant was applied for by Skadoosh Enterprises, headed by Salisbury resident Shawn Campion, for the building at 121 N. Main St., formerly the Textile Products Inc. store. The building, renamed Alley & Main, would include two renovated commercial spaces and four renovated residential spaces.

The $150,000 is a reimbursement grant, which means that Campion will receive the funding after the project is completed.

Community Planning Directory Hannah Jacobson said during the meeting that the grant was based on a point system, which is decided by a committee made up of city staff and community members.

The Alley & Main project scored 34 points:

  • Three points for being located in the 100 block of North Main Street.
  • One point for contributing to the Salisbury National Register Historic District.
  • Five points for installing a new sprinkler system and creating a new fire egress.
  • Six points for activating two street-level retail spaces.
  • Four points for preservative design elements, including two facade restorations, alley-way openings, a historic lift and tin ceilings. According to the grant application, the historic elevator would be visually restored and locked in place on the first floor and a new elevator would be built for accessibility. The tin ceilings will need to be cleaned and repaired due to roof water damage.
  • Two points for installations in Hogan’s Alley, which included concrete planters, a concrete chess board table and chair set and festoon LED lighting.
  • Three points for investing between $1.5 million and $2.5 million. The construction costs are estimated at a total of $2,255,000.
  • Nine points for activating three upper-story residential units.
  • One point for activating a ground-floor residential unit.

Each of those points was worth approximately $4,400, bringing the total grant up to $150,000. Jacobson said that if the project does not fulfill all of those points, whether from a deviation from the plans or failure to satisfactorily meet the conditions, then the $4,400 for each point not completed will be reduced from the total grant.

Jacobson said that the planned total investment into the property is $3.1 million, including the $600,000 building purchase. Once the project is completed, the additional tax revenue is projected to be a total of approximately $175,000 over the following 10 years.

At the end of the discussion, the members of the city council voted unanimously to award the grant to the Alley & Main project.

“In the 10 years I’ve been on the council, this is the best presentation I’ve seen. It is thorough, it is complete, the visualizations are fabulous, your narrative reads like a story. I may be the only one that feels that way, but I read this last night and I started as ‘OK, this is just another one,’ and I just kept reading and reading and reading and I thought ‘wow.’ So, I’m impressed,” said council member David Post during the meeting.

According to the grant application, the renovation of the building is expected to be completed between November or early 2025. The range of expected end dates are due to uncertainty around the time frame for permitting and inspections.

Skadoosh Enterprises bought the building in spring of 2022, and the company delayed the project until the fall of 2023 while waiting for the state to approve historic tax credits for the renovation.

According to the application, the grant will be used to address structural damage from an unreported fire on the mezzanine, unsafe utility systems throughout the building and water damage to the brick work, building support beams and multiple other structures throughout the building.

The application also includes an extensive narration of the history of the building.The building has stood in Salisbury since approximately 1860 and was first constructed by the city itself to serve as the market house. It then served as a headquarters for the U.S. Army during the Civil War before falling into disrepair and being restored and reopened as the Meroney’s Opera House in 1873. The Salisbury Post worked out of the second floor until a fire destroyed the building in 1912, which also caused the front facade to collapse.

The building was restored by 1922 and served as furniture storage, a bicycle shop and bar and saloon for the next few decades until the R.W. Normans Department Store opened their custom fabric treatment department there in the early 1960’s. The building was purchased by a former manager of the fabric treatment department and operated as Textile Products until it was purchased by Skadoosh in 2022.