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New life coming to old building
Warren County Furniture3.jpg
New life will be given to 115 E. Morford Street, the former home of Warren County Furniture. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

An eyesore in Historic Downtown McMinnville is slated for revitalization.

McMinnville Historic Zoning Commission met Tuesday to consider a certificate of appropriateness for awnings, doors, façade, light fixtures, roofing, windows and a third floor for 115 E. Morford Street. That location is the former home of Warren County Furniture.

“As you see in the application, I presented a photo rendering of the changes I’d like to make to the exterior,” said Kara Youngblood, of Shelby Land Holding, LLC. 

Issues were raised.

Depicted was a stacked stone façade placed along the bottom of the building under the windows and on the front of the building that faces the intersection. The stone would cover some architectural brick details.

Historic Zoning District Guidelines stated, “The covering of historic materials with modern elements is inappropriate and should be avoided.”

Youngblood agreed to leave off the stone from the front of the building, but voiced a desire to keep it along the bottom of the building. HZC members agreed.

Brick will be painted gossamer white, says Youngbloodl.

Guideline states, “The painting of original, unpainted brick or stone materials is not recommended.”  

“I don’t want to put words in Mrs. Youngblood’s mouth, but I don’t want this to be a deal killer for her and the aspiration she has regarding the design of her building,” said HCZ chairman Michael Griffith.

The third story would be a rooftop terrace addition, with a railing, similar to that located on Main Street atop a residential/commercial building constructed by Investment Partners LLC. It currently houses Evelyn Taylor Avenue. 

Current guidelines do not regulate those types of additions, but Community Development Department community planner Sean Garrett suggested consideration be given to changing that given the growing popularity of rooftop terraces. 

The single door entrance will be replaced with a double door. While guidelines state “Original storefront configuration and materials should be maintained and preserved,” Youngblood presented a picture of the building that showed it originally had double doors.  

Recessed ceiling lights at the doorway’s entrance was considered “too modern” for the building. Youngblood agreed to replace those fixtures with some that looked more traditional.

A large wooden bay door, located on the Spring Street side of the building, will be replaced with a window to blend in with the rest of the building. 

The overall project received praise. 

“I think it looks great. It looks neat and clean,” said HCZ member Rachel Kirby. 

Griffith stated, “I think this is a huge opportunity to save a landmark and to have that landmark go forward into the future and breathe new life into that section of the historic area on Morford Street, which is in need of a little bit of an investment.” 

Plans for awnings, doors and windows were approved, as well as the lighting over signage. 

McMinnville Zoning Commission members approved the certificate of appropriateness, with the suggested changes. 

Youngblood says the building would be strictly commercial, no residential.