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- 2012 - October - 3rd -

Paul Davis Restoration invests in Springfield warehouse

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

In what they consider “the ultimate restoration,” Marguerite and Mike Mumford have invested more than $1.6 million in buying and renovating a more than 80-year-old Springfield warehouse into their business headquarters and operations center.

Owners of Paul Davis Restoration of North Florida, which is part of a nationwide franchise that provides property damage cleanup and reconstruction services, the Mumfords bought the former Chevrolet Parts Depot.

They said the 2111 N. Liberty St. building, which is about 40,000 square feet in size, is four times the size of the space they leased at 5795 Mining Drive in Southside.

They found it was built in 1929 and designed by Detroit-based architect Alfred Kahn, who designed Ford automotive plants.

“All the bones of it were good,” said Mike Mumford, who discovered the building while driving around.

“It also has character to it,” Marguerite Mumford said. She called it the “ultimate restoration.”

Residents of Springfield, the Mumfords live about nine blocks away.

The building, with 34,000 square feet on the main floor and a 6,000-square-foot upstairs room, generally was “one big open building,” she said. It consists of brick, concrete and steel.

“That’s what attracted us to the building,” she said. “It’s not going anywhere.”

The Mumfords bought the property in November for $450,000, according to Duval County property records. They then invested more than $1.2 million in renovations, according to City permits.

Those projects included removal and reconstruction of the roof, removal of a lightning-damaged chimney and extensive renovations of the interior.

The chimney bricks were saved and re-used. To the extent possible, the old exterior windows were converted into interior windows. An original garage door was saved and restored. The boiler room was cleaned out for use as storage. Radiators remain, as do some terrazzo floors. The coal chute was rebuilt into bathrooms. Paint was removed from the walls to show the original brick. Skylights are prevalent.

What was a freshwater wellhead is in Mike’s office, now covered by a rug.

“Mike fell in love with the building the day he saw it,” said Marguerite. “They don’t build them like they used to.”

“It’ll be a good solid year of working,” Mike said. “It was a blank slate.”

The renovations were led by Paul Davis Restoration of North Florida project manager Bobby Lienau.

The building needed roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning, windows and other work. Property records show the building was completed in 1930.

Lienau studied plans of the building provided by the Alfred Kahn Foundation. Plans showed the former space usage of the warehouse, including segregated bathrooms. That area was renovated for work uses.

The Mumfords’ territory covers North Florida. They have 35 employees at the headquarters and five in Gainesville to work with customers who’ve experienced property damage from fires, floods, wind damage and other disasters and situations.

Paul Davis Restoration of North Florida is part of a nationwide franchise organization that provides property damage cleanup, restoration, reconstruction, as well as remodeling services for residential, institutional and commercial customers. Paul Davis Systems has been in business since 1966.

The Mumfords also own Paul Davis Restoration of North Central Florida in Gainesville.

A tour of the Springfield facility shows the areas for cleaning electronics and for cleaning furniture, toys, clothing and other contents. The center has space for crates to hold the contents until they are cleaned.

Paul Davis employees help customers who have experienced damage to inventory their contents. “Anything we believe we can clean we store in crates,” Marguerite said.

The crates hold and store contents until the customer’s property is restored and the contents can be cleaned.

There is a washing and sanitizing system. The process can clean textiles that have suffered smoke and fire, mold and sewage damage, for example.

Marguerite said the company has restored wedding dresses, a World War II bomber jacket and a family quilt. “It’s particularly important on a sentimental item,” she said.

The electronics cleaning can handle Game Boys, DVDs, TVs, computers and other products.

The Mumfords said their lease was up at the former building, which was sold, so the move was needed. Marguerite said the Springfield building met their requirements, as well as providing a link to history.

Mike said if they needed to move into another building, “let’s get character.”

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

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