Lafayette, IND. (WLFI) - A historical landmark in downtown Lafayette is preparing to reopen its doors.
The former Journal & Courier building was built in 1921. They expanded into The Painters and Decorators building in 1970.
The J&C operated out of the building located on the corner of 6th and Ferry Street for more than 90 years until they moved to their current location in 2016.
When the building became vacant, a new owner stumbled across the building by accident.
Weinstein Nelson Management Company operates out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They specialize in repurposing historic buildings into livable spaces.
They called the mayor to inquire about purchasing the structure, thinking he was the mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana.
After realizing their mistake, they decided to take a chance on Lafayette, Indiana.
They looked locally for the property management, and they turned to Mirus Property Management to run the project.
"They have given us the permission to make decisions," said Tina Torres, Leasing Agent for Mirus Property Management.
And they decided preserving the history was the most important
"Absolutely the most important, that's what gives it such great character,” she said.
Many of the apartments still incorporate original light fixtures, crown molding, and terrazzo flooring.
One of the units repurposed the old bank safe and converted it into a closet. The thousand-pound vault door has “The Safe Cabinet Co. Marietta, O” emblazoned on the door and comes with original certificates.
Torres pointed out an original stained glass window that fronts The Painters and Decorators building.
“It dates back to when the building was built and again and all of the woodwork in this particular suite is from the time," she said.
They aimed to preserve the historical aspects in all 54 of the units. Torres says they have 36 completely different floor plans.
"This is where they were able to bring in the modernization and kinda give you a little urban, modern but yet historical feel," said Torres as she pointed out the new countertops, cabinets, and appliances in the apartment kitchen.
They are also taking green initiatives with censored lighting in the halls, to help reduce their energy footprint.
The opening of The Press will bring many more people living in the downtown area, which will have a ripple effect on the businesses along Main Street.
"It’s always good when we have more residents downtown,” said Greg Emig, owner of Lafayette Brewing Co. located just around the corner from the apartments. “That's something that has been improving over the years and we look forward to having them right behind us."
The Weinstein Nelson Management Company’s accidental entrance into the Lafayette community could have lasting effects in the future.
Addison Henry Senior is Chief Administrative Officer for the Louisiana-based company said in an email interview: “This is only the beginning of our relationship with Lafayette, Indiana and I think we are starting on a good note. Our plans are to become more involved with the community and revitalize the downtown area.”
From a demolition site in the beginning, to now being days away from opening, Torres is ready to see the building she has tirelessly worked with for the past six months come back to life.
“I feel proud to walk into this building and to know that from the early 1800's this building has been here and that it has sound structure,” she said “They just don’t build them like they used to build them.”
The apartments will bring many more people living in the downtown area.
Right around the corner from businesses on Main Street.
The Press will have their official grand opening next Friday, July 27th and tenants are set to start moving in by the end of the month.
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