The Ellsworth Building: Historic Facade Improvements, 2004 Original Architect: Wythe, Blaine & Olson, 1925 Size: 5,000 s.f. Cellar, 5,000 s.f. Street Level Retail & 5,000 s.f. Second Floor Apts. Location: Niles, California This is a unique and wonderful historic building. 2001 was the first time we studied it for improvements. At that time, the owner was considering a conversion into live/work lofts. There was an ingenious way of maintaining the retail shops at grade level, by stacking the live/work units - in the back - from the basement to the second floor. By doing this we were able to utilize the 5,000 square feet within the basement, increasing the rentable area of the building from 10,000 to 15,000 square feet. The local economy was not ready for this conversion, and these plans were not realized. In 2004, the issue was ADA access to the shops. A design-build seismic retrofit contractor had designed the seismic improvements and associated ADA work for the building. When it came time to really do the ADA work, it was noticed that the historic storefronts would have to be demolished to accommodate ADA clearances; very disturbing, considering that the City issued a permit to do this destructive work. Not acceptable! This is how we became involved with the building again. Historic sensitivity, that’s all it takes. As we were developing the ADA solutions, which retained the historic features of the storefronts, we discovered the construction methods of these display windows to be… bewildering, beautiful; built by true craftsmen! All of the sudden we were now executing a façade improvement project.