Pfaff building

Chris Pfaff, the owner of this building at 205 Main Street, went before members of the city’s Historic Review Board this week to seek their blessing in making improvements to the facade.

Historic Review Board members Tuesday could hardly contain their excitement over the latest improvement plans for the 200 block of Main Street.

Chris Pfaff, the new CEO of the Knox County Development Corp., presented the board with detailed architectural plans and a digitized imagining of the property when renovations are complete this summer.

The property at 205 Main St. sits just to the east of the Vincennes Beauty College.

“I call it the second ugliest building on the block,” Pfaff said with a smile, pointing to its green corrugated metal siding, narrow windows and stripped-down facade.

Pfaff, who recently bought the building, said while a complete history of the property has not yet been uncovered, he has photographs of the 140-year-old structure, ones that reveal a beautiful oriel window protruding from the second floor and supported by corbels.

“At some point in the mid-century, they basically shaved off the really ornate cornice at the top,” Pfaff said. “It looks like there may have been water damage, so perhaps when the window was built in 1880 it had some structural defects.”

Pfaff plans to restore the building in a way that will closely resemble its original aesthetic.

The renovations he — along with local architects from Myszak and Partners — envision include new siding and trim, black framed commercial windows, a transom sash above the display windows and, pending possible funding from the Urban Enterprise Association, copper roof materials and gas copper lanterns to adorn the front entrance.

Though building in a full oriel window is cost preventative, Pfaff’s plans do call for extended second floor windows to create a similar effect.

Currently, the top of the building is flat, lacking its original molding. Pfaff says contractors plan to form new ornate cornice to adorn the top of the structure.

“If you look at the original facade, I think these changes kind of bring it back to its original look,” Pfaff said.

Board members unanimously — and enthusiastically — approved Pfaff’s pitch for the property renovations.

“I’m excited to see it go back to something so similar to the original facade,” said HRB president Tim Trotter. “It’s an outstanding project and is exciting for downtown.”

Board members Sarah Wolfe and Elizabeth Dunn echoed the enthusiasm.

“It’s really exciting to see that end of Main Street coming along. We’re going to see some really nice progress there over the next year,” Dunn said.

Work is set to begin on the property by mid-month, and Pfaff is hopeful the renovations will be complete this July.

When finished, the newly revitalized building will hold a commercial tenant on the first floor and a second floor loft apartment.

In other business, HRB members approved a request for new vinyl siding and roofing materials to be installed on a home located at 726 Buntin St.

The home, owned by Steve Cooper, sustained damage during the large storm on April 8, 2020.

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