RESTORING TIME

August 21, 2002 11:00 pm
TO BE LAW OFFICE: Attorney Mark Tipperman plans to refurbish the former Birnie's Jewelry store and restore the sidewalk clock that once was in front of the shop. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
TO BE LAW OFFICE: Attorney Mark Tipperman plans to refurbish the former Birnie's Jewelry store and restore the sidewalk clock that once was in front of the shop. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

The sidewalk clock in front of the former Birnie's Jewelry site at 1108 Adams Ave. is about to be rehabilitated — along with the building, which has been vacant for some time.

Attorney Mark Tipperman has purchased the building and intends to refurbish it as his office. He is now at 105 Fir St.

The restoration will be done as an historically appropriate rehabilitation. The building, which is in the city's historic district, will get a special assessment that allows the owner to freeze the value of the improvements at the level before the investment is made for a period of 15 years.

One of the reasons the city pursued the establishment of an historic district in the downtown area was so building owners would have access to financial incentives, according to Mike Hyde, Community Development director.

He said the staff supports Tipperman's application to the state for the special assessment because of the long-term benefits it will provide to the downtown.

The building, erected in 1892, has brick walls and wooden joists. Tipperman plans to spend $75,000 on the project, according to his application. He hopes to start work by Sept. 15 and be finished by Nov. 15.

The building, once known as the Seagrist Jewelry building, is also in the Urban Renewal District.

"We will sacrifice some revenue to the Urban Renewal Agency," said City Manager Wes Hare, "but I believe the benefits outweigh the costs."

Hare said the renovation will improve the appearance of downtown while reserving the historic character of the building. The historic district of about 42 acres, mainly along Adams Avenue, Washington Avenue and Jefferson Avenue, was designated as such on Sept. 3, 2001, by the National Park Service.