Project reveals original facade of mall building

slug: 04BLDG Winchester's downtown manager Jennifer Bell looks up at the recently uncovered front of the building that houses Blind Faith Enterprises on the Loudoun Street Mall Monday. JEFF TAYLOR 11/3/14.

WINCHESTER — The white stucco facade was removed from the Blind Faith Enterprises building on the Loudoun Street Mall during a weeklong project that ended Friday.

The original brick facade at 160 N. Loudoun St. has been uncovered and appears to be “structurally sound,” said Stanley Corneal, a Marketplace Realty agent trying to sell the property. Its list price is $399,000, according to the company’s website.

Still, the facade requires further work.

According to David Logan — the owner of Vintage Inc., which did the work — much of the brick is covered in a black residue, likely the result of tar used as an adhesive to secure the stucco.

“That’s a very destructive material and to clean it off will require a lot of effort,” he said in a phone interview on Monday, noting that his city-based company is willing to take on that project as well.

Last week, three workers were usually on site: Two performed the removal, and the third hauled away the pieces of stucco.

“Surprisingly, it’s a thought-provoking [process],” said Logan. “You get worried about cutting too deeply into the stucco and into the brick.”

The project could be eligible for rehabilitation tax credits. Earlier in the year, small sections of the stucco were removed, leading the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to designate the building a contributing resource.

To receive a similar designation from the National Park Service, more of the stucco had to be removed for observation, building owner Lewis Costello previously said.

Some of that cost was covered by a $5,000 Virginia Main Street Downtown Improvement Grant. The Old Town Development Board approved the allocation for 160 N. Loudoun Street in July, along with eight other applicants.

For prospective buyers, uncovering the brick allows them “to see what the potential of the facade is rather than the unknown,” Corneal said during a phone interview Monday.

The building could accommodate three 1,000-square-foot apartments and a commercial space on the ground floor, according to Corneal.

“There’s a market for upper-end apartments in downtown,” he said. “When the rehab is complete, the building will be stunning.”

— Contact Derek Gomes at dgomes@winchesterstar.com

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