Beppie LeGrand, Main Street SC Manager and LaNelle Fabian, Director for Main Street Beaufort(download high-res version)
Main Street South Carolina recognized Jeff Bisger and the Lipsitz Building in Beaufort with the 2014 Gaines Jontz Rehabilitation Award at the Municipal Association's 74th Annual Meeting on July 12. This project was nominated by Main Street Beaufort USA. Main Street South Carolina is a program of the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
This award, named in memory of Gaines Jontz, an architect who worked with downtown restorations until his death in 1994, recognizes excellence in fa-ade rehabilitation or total building rehabilitation. The project must demonstrate quality and appropriateness of design, materials and construction, and a positive impact on the commercial district.
The Lipsitz Building is a 10,000 sq. ft., two-story, wood-framed structure built in the 1880s. The National Park Service certified the building, located within the Beaufort Historical District, as an historic structure. After a business closed in 2009, the building sat vacant for four years.
Local resident Jeff Bisger purchased the building with the goal of restoring the prominent building. Not only did Bisger have to meet local standards, but he also had to adhere to the National Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.
Bisger's renovation included using original wood siding and windows. Plus he demolished two single-story building additions at the rear of the property. Interior renovations included exposing original floors, walls and ceilings. On the second floor, Bisger incorporated original floors, doors, moldings and hardware into the renovations.
Today, the building has 100 percent occupancy with two retail stores on the first floor and artists" galleries and studios on the second floor. Local artists rented all available space even before renovations were completed.
"Jeff's renovation of the Lipsitz Building is the perfect example of how a historical building renovation can have a positive impact on the community and local businesses," said Beppie LeGrand, Main Street SC manager.
Main Street South Carolina empowers residents, business owners and local officials with the knowledge, skills, tools and organizational structure necessary to revitalize their downtowns, neighborhood commercial districts and cities/towns into vibrant centers of commerce and community.
Main Street South Carolina follows the National Main Street's Four Point Approach - Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restructuring. Each year, Main Street South Carolina recognizes members" achievements and successes in downtown revitalization. A video showcasing the award is available here