Plans underway to restore former Schein Store in Beaufort

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 24, 2013 

A rendering of what the former Schein Store building might look like.

MAXINE LUTZ — null

Developers and the Historic Beaufort Foundation are working on a plan to restore the former Schein Store, also known as the Coastal Contractors building.

The building's current owners, developers Steve Tully and John Trask III, had hoped to incorporate the building into their MidTown Square development, a project on which they are workig on with Allen Patterson Residential, LLC, and Allison Ramsey Architects.

But several attempts to sell the building so it can be renovated and reused fell through, Tully said.

The two-story commercial building at 702 Bladen St. was built in 1912 by Annie and David Schein, according to Historic Beaufort Foundation executive director Maxine Lutz. In the 1940s, it was Al's Steak House and the Royal Pasta Co. In the 1950s, Carson Rentz purchased it, and it became the Coastal Contractors building until it closed in the mid-2000s.

It has remained vacant since.

"The reason we're interested in it is because it is the last commercial building in that area, which was once home to many businesses," Lutz said.

The building, and lack of progress with it, was holding up construction and sales of the final four lots facing Bladen Street, so the developers planned to demolish it, Tully said.

But Lutz intervened and began working on a plan for the foundation to purchase and restore the building. That plan is not complete but would entail the foundation buying the property at a "very" reduced price, she said.

Lutz hopes ownership of the building will be transferred to the foundation immediately so that the restoration project will be eligible for more grants. The balance would be due in two years, she said.

Initial inspections indicate it could cost as much as $100,000 to stabilize the 3,200-square-foot structure. Work would include removing false walls and ceilings, repairing the roof and siding, and restoring the original facade. Work could begin in summer.

Lutz was optimistic it could be sold by the time the two-year window for paying the bill comes due. The building would then be marketed as a commercial or live-work space.

Tully said the interior probably will need to be gutted for the building to be restored. The partnership benefits all involved, he said, as the neighborhood gets a historic building saved and fixed, the developers won't need to knock it down, and the preservationists have an opportunity to save one more piece of Beaufort's history.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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