Old building; new owner
20-year-old owner plans apartments in downtown
By CHERIL VERNON, H-P Community Editor
The Palestine Herald
Ivanhoe No. 15 K of P
Palestine — The new owner of a historic building in downtown Palestine is hoping to help revitalize the downtown area by restoring the three-story Ivanhoe building located at 201 E. Oak St.
"I plan on doing apartment lofts on the top two floors then some kind of businesses on the bottom floor — potential restaurant or commercial office space," said new owner Kyle Bostic of Montalba.
The Ivanhoe building, built in 1913 as the organizational meeting for the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization, has hosted several businesses over the years including a furniture manufacturing company, a garment factory, a food pantry and a computer repair shop. In recent years the bottom floor has been used for commercial office space — while the top two floors have remained vacant.
Bostic plans to put in around 10 apartment lofts altogether eventually, saying the renovations on the 15,000 square-foot building would take two to three years.
Bostic purchased the building for $74,000.
"It needs an absolute total renovation on the exterior and interior," Bostic said. "The exterior will be renovated to the original historical appearance."
Local officials were on hand last week as Bostic led a tour of the building and discussed his plans for the future of the building.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the building restored and adding another historical landmark to downtown Palestine," Palestine Landmark Commission member Hugh Summers said.
April Johnston, co-owner of Texas Art Depot in downtown Palestine and a member of the Downtown Merchant Retailers Association, said she hopes this will serve as an incentive to others to reinvest in the future of Palestine.
"I think this will encourage other people and give them an incentive," Johnston said.
Kathi Masonheimer, president-elect of the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce, said it is a great start to "getting folks here in the downtown area and hopefully the start of the beginning of living, dining and entertainment in the central business district."
Currently the Redlands is the only building in downtown Palestine to have apartments on its upper floors.
Bostic, who said he found the building for sale while looking on the Internet, said he was interested in residential property primarily.
"When I found out the City of Palestine allowed residential in the buildings downtown, it was the perfect opportunity," Bostic said. "This building offered the best opportunities and had the best qualities."
Warren Oakley, director of developmental services for the city, said renovations will bring back the historical value to the building.
"It's a unique building because it's one of our few multi-story buildings and with restoration will really add asset to the city and revitalize the area," Oakley said. "Not everyone is willing to take on a building of this size."
What makes this purchase unique is that Bostic is only 20 years old.
A 2003 graduate of Palestine High School, Bostic graduated in May with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Tyler. He graduated early due to credits he received through the concurrent college program he took while attending high school.
The Montalba resident is a third-generation remodeler — following in the footsteps of his father, the late Tim Bostic, and his grandfather, Harold Bostic, who died last week. Uniquely, at one time his grandmother worked in a factory that existed in the building.
"This is my second building to renovate, though this one is a lot larger than my first one," Bostic said. "This is what I've decided to do. I've been doing it since I was 18 and this is what I want to do for a living."
Bostic said he hopes the renovation of the building will not only spark revitalization in the downtown area, but also help with providing extra rental space to Palestine.
Century 21 real estate agent Mary Alice Largent sold the property to Bostic.
"I think that this young man is going to go far, and I really believe that renovating this building will help the downtown area grow," Largent said.
Edited by TCUTrumpetGuy, 01 June 2006 - 09:57 PM.