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My Favorite Buildings: Old Pink

This is not the famous Old Pink of Allen Street fame (which I believe is painted black). This old pink is 496 Main, a wonderful 19th century commercial building at the far south end of the Burgers complex that has been in search of more appreciative ownership for a long time. Perhaps 15 years ago or so it received its current distinctive pink color, becoming a somewhat dowdy landmark in the neighborhood. Receipt of a bizarre color scheme such as this is sure sign of a building’s falling fortunes. It is as if owners of declining buildings think that crazy colors attract tenants.
This simple building has been one of my favorites since I was a child. Somehow I remember this place from downtown trips during Main Street’s more vibrant days. Even back then I am sure it was exhibiting signs of decline. If my memory serves me well this was a Liberty Shoe store. It seems like my parents always took us to Liberty for our shoes and I picture myself going to this building and getting my feet measured with tall stacks of shelves piled to the ceiling with shoes. I am not sure if this memory is correct but that is what comes to mind when I see this building.


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There is something very basic and elegant about it. The highly regular pattern of windows on the south side is highlighted by very beautiful window top detailing. These traditional punched side windows contrast with the more modern front of the building featuring much more glass in the form of strips of windows across the front and wrapping the corner. This part of the building is very likely the result of a remodeling that was probably done in the 1910’s or 20’s. The base of the building has remnants of streamline modern improvements most likely carried out in the 40’s. It is all topped off with a highly detailed cornice. That fact that this building still has a cornice is miraculous.
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The building is being offered for sale by Hunt Commercial Real Estate. It is listed at $340,000 for 11,400 square Feet. Taxes are $3,200. Hunt has several images of the interior showing great wide open space just begging to be brought to life. I can never figure out how space like this can fall out of favor. Here is to hoping this building is someone else’s favorite as well. It would be a tragedy to lose this one. The right person could turn this into a great “Then and Now” piece for BRO.
Thanks to WCP and Hunt for images.

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