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The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost | Business

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The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost
The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost

From the outside, The Bickett looks like many buildings outside – old, brick and in need of a little TLC. On the inside, however, developer Jed Conklin and his band of construction workers have transformed the one-time hotel (and rumored brothel) into a streamlined work of art.

Standing at the bannister of the second floor, Conklin says they had a lot of work ahead of them when they first walked in.

“The entire building was open and full of pigeons,” he said. “The droppings were ankle deep in places, and the rain was pouring in.”

Amazingly, Conklin was able to salvage the original floors, now scraped clean and polished to a smooth finish without even a creak to give away its century of history. The original floor plans are still visible in the wood, outlining the four single-occupancy rooms that now make up each apartment.

“We wanted to save as much as we could,” Conklin explained. “Even the shelves are made of recycled lumber from somewhere else in the building.”

The elegant stairway connecting the second and third floor residence area (the first floor is dedicated to retail space) still has its original hardwood banister, with both floors naturally lit by an enormous skylight framed by the lathe and plaster used in the original construction.

Other frosted glass skylights that were originally placed in the hotel's third-floor walkways to light the second floor still grace the entryways of top floor apartments, but now feature in-floor track lighting instead.

“Now whoever lives here will have glowing floors,” Conklin explained, flipping the switch to light them up.

Conklin says it was Dan Spalding who talked him into taking the plunge. Spalding is the owner of the Longbotham Building on west Main Avenue, which currently houses Boots Bakery and Zola, and other restoration projects in the east downtown area including the adjoining Richmond building.

“We'll actually have a shared entryway where residents of both buildings can come in,” said Conklin. In addition to the shared entryway, both buildings share a community deck above the alleyway between Riverside and Sprague.

Conklin says he's surprised as how quickly the apartments are filling up, and is excited to see the clientele prepared to move in.

“I wish I could tell you who's renting this one, because I'm really excited, but I can't,” he said with a grin. However Conklin did hint that many of them are creative and artistic with the ability to boost the revitalization of historic downtown.

There are still several units available for rent, ranging from 550 to 1,050 square feet. Conklin says he'll give anyone a tour whether they're interested in renting or just curious to see the makeover. You can contact him to make an appointment by phone at (509) 638-3366 or send him an email at jed@jedconklin.com.

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