Duane Building Slide 1
Duane Building Slide 2

Duane Building

Preservation Merit Award
for the preservation and rehabiliation of the 1906 Duane Building, 397-401 Broadway, Lorain

Built in 1906, the Duane Building is one of the oldest commercial structures in Downtown Lorain. The building served as a center of commerce in the City's historic downtown for many years, housing ten apartments, commercial space and a warehouse--but eventually it was abandoned and fell into a state of disrepair. In February of 2002 , fire destroyed portions of the upper floors of the Duane Building, but the sandstone block foundation, exterior walls, and steel beams inside the structure were relatively undamaged. Veard-Duane, Limited purchased the building in May of that year for $32,500 and secured Arkinetics Inc., to complete architectural designs needed to for a complete rehabilitation.

The final product of this project—a historically renovated building, true to the design of the original building and central to the City of Lorain—is an elegant example of a public/private partnership that worked. Jon Veard [“Vay-yard”] of United Property Management, with guidance from Gary Fischer of Arkinetics, and with financial incentives from the City of Lorain, rehabilitated a vacant, fire-gutted building to its former grandeur.

The integrity of the original design was re-established by repairing or reinstalling key architectural elements including the stairway, skylights, and the sandstone exterior, using historic photographs. In addition, balusters, moldings, and a skylight that had been painted and covered by a drop ceiling, were rehabilitated.

Following the $2 million project, the Duane Building reopened in October of 2004. The original ten apartments and two store fronts were redesigned to include 19 apartments; six commercial spaces and a restaurant. According to then-Mayor Craig Foltin, "The resurrection of the Duane Building is a major step towards the revitalization of downtown Lorain." The building has remained fully occupied since completion of the project.

The preservation and rehabilitation of the Duane Building is a classic example of what can be accomplished when public and private partners join forces with a common purpose. The City provided nearly $1.7 million in Community Development Block Grant loan funds and the project qualified for the federal rehabilitation tax credit.

2011 Awards Presentation Image. Click to view slides of the awards presentation.

Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.