FAIRMONT – For years the building at 222 Adams Street has been vacant, but now, after some renovations, it has new tenants.
On Tuesday, members of the Fairmont business community celebrated Springston Realty’s move to downtown Fairmont with a ribbon cut to its new location.
Two years ago, Claudio Corp., a West Virginia economic development company, purchased the Adams Street property, located between the Fairmont office of Senator Joe Manchin and Dollar General.
“This building was completely vacant, front to back. You would open the front door and see the back door, there were no walls here, ”said Dominick Claudio, CEO of Claudio Corp. “There were sections of dirt floor – it was in poor condition. Upstairs there were mechanics … but that was it.
Over the past nine months, Claudio Corp. – who is also a co-owner of Springston – worked to renovate the building into an attractive commercial property. This project cost approximately $ 350,000 and there is still work to be done.
“When we invest in buildings, we are sort of looking for the worst in the neighborhood,” Claudio said. “That’s where he qualified. It’s a labor of love to work with these old buildings, but they come to life more than anything else.
The purchase and renovation of the property allowed Springston to transition smoothly from its former location at 600 Gaston Avenue to the newly renovated space.
“Downtown is the heart of every city and we wanted a new face for Springston,” said Kara Thomas, co-owner of Springston. “It really was the perfect opportunity to do it.”
Springston is the state’s oldest real estate agent, founded in 1946. Claudio, along with Thomas and Shannon Onderko, recently bought the agency and sought to refresh the company’s image.
“We really wanted to bring Springston to life and what better place to do it? Said Onderko.
The building would have been built in 1848 and is said to be the oldest building in all of Fairmont, according to Debra McMillan’s book on historic Fairmont architecture, “An Ornament to the City.”
Originally built as a hat shop, the property was first known as the “Hatter Ben’s Big Brick” built by Ben Fleming. Over the years the property has been made up of several things: a toy store, a grocery store, a cigar factory, a recreation center and a restaurant.
Renovations are exactly the kind of projects Main Street Fairmont is trying to encourage downtown. Main Street Fairmont manager Tim Liebrecht was in attendance at the ribbon cutting on Tuesday and was happy to see the project reach this stage.
“There have been people here with visions like this for a long time and now that they can be part of a larger movement that is happening, we are seeing great progress,” Liebrecht said. “Last year… [the building] was completely empty inside, go from there to nine months later in this building which has been beautifully redone.
And the renovation of this property is still in progress.
Outside the office, Springston had a conceptual drawing of what the finished facade will look like when the project is fully completed.