Friday, March 18 2011
Evansville's historic Old Post Office may soon have new ownership.
The building's nearly vacant and in need of repair...but one local developer says he has the money and the business savvy to fix it.
The former post office, built back in the 1870s, is a truly unique part of Evansville's downtown landscape. But inside, it's in pretty bad shape and it'll take a lot of money and work to change that.
Walking around the Old Post Office, Bashar Hamami is quick to point out the building's potential.
"Most people that see this building fall in love with it."
He took interest in the property after purchasing the General Cigar Building across the street...his first commercial venture.
But he says this one needs some serious TLC.
From extensive water damage to rotting window frames and stripped floors, the to-do list for this property will be long...the interior repairs adding up to about $600,000.
That doesn't include another estimated $600,000 for exterior repairs...a total of 1.2 million in renovations.
Hamami says although former owners let it go, he admits the operating costs are extremely high.
And since only 60 percent of that square footage is rentable space...
"You're heating and cooling and maintaining 40 percent of the space that generates absolutely no revenue."
Aline Lewis works for one of the few businesses left in this building.
She says it's worth all the work.
"The glasswork is unbelievable, the plasterwork is beautiful. It would be magnificent redone...I hope that's what he's gonna do."
Hamami says he's committed to that goal...once he officially holds the keys.
Hamami has the go ahead from the Redevelopment Commission to negotiate taking over the lease for the building.
He says he expects to close on that deal this Friday and get to work soon after that