Spouses Jack Meeks and JoAnn Tredennick are leasing four apartments after a five-year renovation of the crumbling 1909 building.
Restoring the historic Elena Flats building to its former glory wasn’t a profitable proposition for spouses Jack Meeks and JoAnn Tredennick.
The building at 122 E. Duval St. was one of a few remaining Downtown that were built between the 1901 fire and 1910.
When Tredennick heard the structure was set to be demolished, she wanted to help save it.
While they had renovated several other quadplex apartment buildings in Springfield, restoring the “significantly deteriorated” structure Downtown would be a bigger challenge.
“It stretched it, but it was within our capability,” Tredennick said.
The building, constructed in 1909, was used as a boardinghouse with as many as 25 rooms.
“It just didn’t seem like this was another building that should be torn down,” Meeks said.
Meeks and Tredennick wanted to transform it into an apartment building with four 1,700-square-foot, two-bedroom, 2½-bathroom units.
The first step was to make the building structurally sound so workers could get inside.
Workers disassembled the structure to save as much original material as possible to reuse.
Tredennick said the original pieces of the building mostly are in the front, and include hardwood floors, windows and window frames, doors and door frames and fireplaces.
The exterior brick was removed to waterproof the building and then put back in the original pattern.
The couple bought the building in 2015 for $20,000. Six years and nearly $3 million later, the apartments became available to lease earlier this year.
Meeks and Tredennick took advantage of historic tax credits, but had no other funding or government incentives.
Their team included Halbert Contracting Co. and architects Bill and Melody Bishop.
Each unit has stainless steel appliances, full-size washers and dryers, exposed brick walls, refinished hardwood floors, a front parlor with a fireplace, patio space and outdoor storage. Units are renting for $1,995 per month.
There is a small parking lot adjacent to the building for residents.
Two of the four units are leased.
“(The tenants) love that they’re so close to everything, you can just go down to the river, everything that’s around here,” Tredennick said.
“They love the apartment too. They think the apartment is just beautiful.”
The property is in the Cathedral District.
Even though the two realize they won’t make much money on their investment, Meeks and Tredennick said it is important for the city and its residents to save historic buildings like Elena Flats.
“It’s called a love project,” Meeks said.
“We use the term civic philanthropy, which we’d like to see more of,” Tredennick said.
“It’s a contribution to the integrity of our city and the architectural integrity of our city.”
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