Downtown Façade Improvement Success Stories

The Downtown District Comes Alive with New Building Exteriors

Year Two of the Program Will Be Launched Soon!

Location
Downtown District

In November 2019, the City of O’Fallon launched the Downtown Façade Improvement Grant Program, a one-of-a-kind program designed to breathe new life into the Downtown District through the improvement of existing building exteriors.

In the inaugural application round, five buildings in the Downtown District received new and improved exteriors. The program immediately provided the Downtown District with a dramatically different look and feel.

As the City nears the start of the next round of Façade Improvement Grants, everyone should take some time to review the successes with some of the award winners.

Lehman’s Barber Shop – After
Lehman’s Barber Shop – Before

Monica and Tim Vecera of Lehman’s Barber Shop at 123 E. State Street made many improvements to their building, including new doors, a brick veneer, an awning addition, exterior lighting and fresh paint. When asked why they chose to take on such a project, Monica explained that they “always wanted to update the building and when the City offered an incentive, that sealed the deal. Our building is part of downtown and [we] wanted to make it an attractive location.”

As the work has neared completion, customers and the public alike have taken notice. The feedback has all been positive and, according to Monica, “we love our building as it is nearing completion. [We] can’t wait for the finished project. It’s going to look amazing. [We look forward to] enjoying the new atmosphere of the Barber Shop and for Destinations By Ellen. A nice work environment lifts people’s spirits.”

The Veceras found the experience to be great overall and they have learned from the process, too. Their parting advice to anyone who is considering a façade renovation? “We encourage it. You need to have professionals guide you to make the best decision for your look and budget.”

The Outdoorsman – Before
The Outdoorsman – After

Gary Ahle of The Outdoorsman, located at 127 E. First Street, built an addition to his longstanding business in 2017. He used the Façade Grant to update the existing building to be more cohesive with the addition. This included the addition of new windows, matching awnings, a new main door, and gooseneck lighting.

Mueller Florist, located at 101 W. First Street, may be one of the most visible of all the Façade Improvement projects, having street frontage on First, Lincoln, and Second Street. Steven Mueller improved his building by replacing worn awnings with new, repairing doors and windows along Lincoln and Second Street, and tying it altogether with a contemporary paint color and new signage. This fresh look calls attention to some interesting architectural features of the building as well.

Steven Mueller Florist – Before
Steven Mueller Florist – After

Separate from the Façade Grant, but worth noting is the collaboration between the City and Mueller Florist to display a new Downtown District mural on the side of the building facing Lincoln. This mural features the Downtown District logo and bright red poppies just waiting for the next photo opp.

Downtown District Mural

Tom and Tracy Moreland of 1st Street Lounge located, at 119 W. First Street, also shared their experience with the City. 1st Street Lounge celebrated their grand opening in March and revealed their newly renovated interior and exterior. The Moreland’s improvements included new siding and creating a 10-foot wide by 8-foot high opening in the front of the building to accommodate a modern glass, roll-up door. The Morelands chose to invest in their building so that they could improve the look and “bring in the natural light to brighten the inside.” Tracy explained a unique challenge to this particular façade renovation included securing the building front while waiting for the garage door company to install the new glass door. She complimented her contractor, Kruep Construction, for keeping their minds at ease throughout the project.

Customers love the large glass door and the Morelands receive frequent compliments on it. The Morelands love their building too and are grateful for the opportunity to improve the building. According to Tracy, “every day is a new day” since COVID-19 started right around the time they opened. Going forward, the Morelands look forward to doing business in the City and settling into “normal.” Finally, the Morelands recommend the façade improvement program and suggest future applicants “just have all your paperwork in order” and the rest is easy.

First Street Lounge – After
First Street Lounge – Before

Perhaps the most dramatic façade renovation occurred at 227 W. First Street. This project involved saw-cutting off the entire, rock-veneer face of the building. The building, originally constructed in the 1920s, has seen a variety of building trends, but now boasts a sleek, modern façade with mixed elements of wide glass windows and metal accents. A quick visit with business owner, Rick Huskey, allowed us a unique opportunity to look out through the new glass façade and appreciate the full effect the exterior renovation has made to the interior of the building as well.

227 West First Street – After
227 West First Street – Before

With all this success, The City is excited to announce the next application round for Façade Improvement Grants will be opening on November 2, 2020. We encourage anyone that is interested and has property located in the Central City TIF District to apply. Please check The City’s website for updates and if you have any questions you can email communitydevelopment@ofallon.org.

 

 

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