Light at the End of the Tunnel – Update on the Titusville Towne Square Building Renovations
Almost at the one - year point from a devastating fire that severely damaged the historic Towne Square Building in downtown Titusville, there is light at the end of the tunnel, renovations are finally coming together. And, as one community member mentioned – it is good to see lights on again in the Blue Canoe Brewery!
The evening of St Patrick’s Day 2015, a fire broke out in an adjacent downtown building, rekindled the next day in the Towne Square Building, resulting in a total loss to the fourth floor, and severely damaged lower levels including the ever popular Blue Canoe Brewery. PEDA member Titusville Community Development Agencies (TCDA), was housed on the fourth floor, along with a full service Conference Center.
PEDA Executive Committee member Jim Becker, Executive Director of Titusville Community Development Agencies is in charge of the renovations. Titusville Redevelopment Authority – an arm of TCDA owns the Towne Square Building.
The only way to begin renovations was with use of three very large and very expensive cranes. For approximately six months cranes were used to remove the entire fourth floor, secure the building structure, apply a roof on the third floor that could someday be built upon, and reinstall HVAC systems. Three state routes intersect where the cranes sat - rest assured the community was very happy when the detour around the cranes was no longer needed!
Additionally, seven other businesses were displaced due the fire. First and foremost TCDA staff focused on placing tenants in temporary locations. Within days those tenants that needed temporary offices had them. Building owners with vacant office space reached out, calls regarding donations of office equipment and furniture came in quickly, and fundraisers were held to assist emergency response teams, businesses and individuals, “There was, and still is an outpouring of support that is humbling,” said Jim Becker.
Fast forward to today -the brewery kitchen layout has been reconfigured to be more efficient, and all the major kitchen equipment is in place with a new walk in cooler. Workers are pushing hard to get the brewery open. A new entryway glass enclosure was installed. Codes have changed since the brewery was first built, so another venting system had to be installed that returns tempered air. Hardwood flooring is down. New lighting fixtures are going up. Tables will be delivered soon. And most important, beer is being made on-site!
Contractors are finishing up work on the first floor and will soon move upstairs to begin work on the upper two levels. Tenants meetings have been held to discuss floor plans and space accommodations. A full service Conference Center will again be available near the incubator office suites. The previous conference room was used frequently, so getting that area up and running right away is important. Planned are two additional smaller conference rooms to accommodate meeting demand. There is no date for completion, but the clock is ticking…..
Everyone working on this project is dedicated to seeing it through to the end. They understand what this building means to the Titusville community. Staff at TCDA have also come to realize that a building sometimes is not just a building – in this case, the saving of the Towne Square building represents light at the end of what could have easily been a very dark tunnel.
For additional photos and to stay updated visit: www.tcda.org