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Chillicothe Gazette: Carlisle plan set to start next month

Matthew Kent, Chillicothe Gazette – April 29, 2014:

Preparations for the upcoming renovation of the historic Carlisle Building in downtown Chillicothe appear to be taking shape.

The developer of the iconic structure, Michael Chesler, said Tuesday that he plans to begin work in May that will first involve putting up scaffolding once technical and financial details are finalized.

Chesler, who leads the Cleveland-based Chesler Group, signed a 15-year lease in February with Adena Health System, which plans to fully occupy the building late next year.

The $7 million renovation project will have 32 apartments for medical residents and other office space for Adena employees once it is completed. The downtown landmark has stood unoccupied since a 2003 fire damaged the building.

Several efforts have been launched to renovate the structure in the years since the fire, but none gained any traction until the partnership between Adena and Chesler was formed. Chesler said he plans to scaffold the building beginning on the Paint Street side as one of the first steps in the renovation process.

“There are some structural defects, flaws and some structural problems on the Howson Building that are pretty evident for even a layperson to see, and we need to repair those structural defects probably first,” Chesler said. “So we’re going to have a lot of the debris coming off the front of the building and there’s no room yet in the rear, and so we may demolish some of those outstructures.

“And so that’s the plan.”

He said that will mean “stabilizing parts of the building that are distressed and doing the demolition of the exterior outbuildings from the rear, and that phase will probably take four to six months of stabilization.”

Once that is completed, Chesler said, crews will go inside and begin the interior restoration process. He confirmed that the completion date of October 2015 is still on track and that the overall project is ready to move forward.

“We’re all ready to go, and we just have to finalize, get all the parties happy to go to work,” Chesler said.

Preliminary construction estimates were being performed on the structure on Tuesday, said Todd Wallace, senior project manager with Cleveland-based American Preservation Builders.

Kelly Kight, the city’s chief building official, also was among those gathered outside the building.

Kight said the city has issued a permit for the project to allow for temporary electric service in the back of the structure.

Chesler said residents of Chillicothe can thank the president and CEO of Adena Health System, Mark Shuter, for his efforts concerning the Carlisle Building.

“It’s a gift to the community, and in addition to getting health care from that organization … they really need to recognize that it was all about Mark Shuter and the board at Adena that made it happen,” he said.

Mayor Jack Everson said the renovation work will provide an economic boost to Chillicothe and Ross County once things get started, as Chesler has indicated he intends to use local contractors as much as possible.

Everson added that the upcoming project is a step in the right direction for Chillicothe.

“I think it’s the catalyst to the rebirth of downtown,” he said.