Wednesday, April 5, 2006

A piece of Hailey's past is restored

Wood River Furniture building to have two new tenants

Express Staff Writer

If you've driven down Hailey's Main Street recently, you've likely glanced at the old Wood River Furniture store across from City Hall and wondered what's going on inside.

The building's boarded-up front doesn't give much, if any, indication to what activities are taking place within.

When the boards do finally come down and Hailey residents are able to take a peek inside, what they see may come as a pleasant surprise. Builders are currently at work restoring and renovating the building to its former Old Hailey charm while at the same time bringing the structure up to code.

Ketchum builder Peter Dembergh is in charge of the renovation project.

The new owners of the approximately 4,000-square-foot building at 120 South Main St., Hailey residents Robert and Rebecca Mitchell, hope the restoration project will bring new life to the historic building, said Julie Evans, a commercial realtor with Momentum Real Estate in Hailey. Evans represented the Mitchells during their purchase of the building, which was completed in December, and is currently working to help them find a tenant to lease a portion of the building.

Rather than raze the building after they purchased it, the Mitchells decided to take the extra effort to have it fully restored regardless of the potential lost revenue they could have gained if they had constructed a new structure instead, Evans said.

The benefactors of that decision will be residents of the city of Hailey, she said.

Evans, who sits on the Hailey Historic Preservation Committee, described what the building will look and feel like when the project is complete as something of "a mercantile look." To that end, builders are working to restore the old hardwood floors and brick walls and they're installing a pressed-tin surface on the building's more-than-10-foot-high ceilings, Evans said. They're also installing vintage lighting, she said.

"It will really have that old historic look to it," Evans said.

Once the restoration project is complete, the building will have space for two tenants including owner Rebecca Mitchell's fabric and quilting store, The Fabric Granary. The store is currently located at 9 East Bullion St. in Hailey.

Evans said the building's tenants may be able to begin moving in as soon as June 1 if the work continues to go as planned.

The Mitchells are currently negotiating with a prospective tenant to lease the remaining space in the building, Evans said.

Although she declined to name who the prospective tenants are, she did indicate that they are interested in opening a restaurant in the building. Evans described the prospective tenant's restaurant menu as modern and contemporary.

"We're very enthusiastically pursuing each other," she said of the two parties.

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