The goal of the restoration at 119 N. Main St. is to keep the past while looking to the future.
Buying the fire-damaged building at an auction in 2007 was a gamble taken by Mark and Angela Romano, Mooresville residents who live on Big Indian Loop, and friend, Phillip "Reeves" Vaughn, of Concord.
"We were looking for a place to put our offices," said Vaughn, 35, "but we really weren't looking for a place as big as this, but we knew we could do the work."
They remain good friends; an accomplishment after a renovation.
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The building, known as the Swedenberg Building, was built in 1901. Adams & Associates Architecture, 126 N. Main St., helped Romano and Vaughn with the restoration design.
They bought the building in October 2007 and paid $180,000 for it at an auction. They put on a new roof immediately and delayed other renovations until last year because of the economy. Romano and Vaughn have invested about $280,000 in the renovations so far, they said.
"It's a great building. The restoration is set up perfectly for a restaurant," said Larry Schaeffer of Adams & Associates. About 6,100 square feet will be available for lease.
The first part of the project was ripping the roof off and saving as much of the wood and beams, scraping off the burned areas. As much of the original wood that could be saved was milled and reused in the restoration. The new energy-efficient windows are framed with the repurposed wood.
"We reused as much of the wood as we could, but we ran out," said Romano.
They chose new rustic oak wood flooring to complement the original wood.
Hours of chiseling plaster revealed exposed brick walls. Original chair rail and wood molding was uncovered and restored. Bringing the building into 2011 is an upgraded electrical service, surround sound, cable and more. There are new sewer and water lines, a sprinkler system, a kitchenette for the office space and tiled bathrooms, one with a shower.
The main level of the building is waiting for the right tenant.
Part of the second floor of the building will house the executive offices of Romano and Vaughn; Mark Romano's business, The Fan Man Inc.; and Vaughn's business, At Your Service, a construction cleaning company. Another office could be leased.