Historic downtown building to go to bid April 15

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

More than a year ago, architects unveiled plans to renovate the Sphar seed warehouse on Main Street into community and public spaces.

The project is just about to be ready to be advertised for bids.

Winchester City Manager Matt Belcher said the advertisement will post April 15 and there will be up to 21 days for bids to be submitted.

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Where the bids come in will determine where the project goes. Belcher said there is about $1.9 million available at this point, between pledged funds and grants for the project.

“We’re waiting,” he said. “It depends on how the bids come back.

The former seed warehouse, which has been vacant for years, was once the center of agri-business in Winchester. Now, the 137-year-old building is decaying. A section of the roof fell in March 16 damaging part of the brick facade, Belcher said. Engineers examined the damage and determined it would not add significantly to the project budget, he said.

“Luckily it fell in on itself,” Belcher said. “There was a hole there already.”

A year ago, architects estimated stabilizing the building and building some offices would cost about $2 million. There were a number of structural issues, including the roof and floors. Metalwork and masonry were predicted to cost about $730,000.

Plans call for the building to include a welcome center and offices for Main Street Winchester, the chamber of commerce, industrial development authority and tourism commission. There would be room for other tenants, according to the architects.

“I hope the bids come in where we can afford it,” Belcher said.