Amherst Street is lining up for more growth in the near future. Mark Kubiniec, President Grant/Amherst Business Association and owner of Joe’s Service Station (corner of Amherst and Elmwood) purchased 436 Amherst Street a couple of years ago in order to secure the building from heading to the landfill. According to Mark, he is doing a considerate, deliberate renovation and focused on the systems and structure first, where there was deferred maintenance and damage. Roofing, masonry, interior water damage, piping, etc. which had to be completed first.
It was Doreen DeBoth of Artsphere Studio & Gallery who spearheaded the mural initiative to coincide with the 125 Anniversary of the Assumption Church. Chris Kameck was hired to create the installation and adhere the wheatpaste with the help of Max Collins. “The story is really about how the community in the past supports efforts of their neighbors… there was a parade for everything back in the day (see additional images below). As for the building, when I purchased it, the storefront had been converted to residential, similar to the fate of many other historic buildings throughout the city (think Connecticut Street, Grant Street, etc.) If you look closely at the photo you will see my building – it’s a chance to look back at the history of the street, and also into the future. I discovered that the 1300 sq.’ storefront was home to Spolka Clothing, and that the mothership for the men’s clothing store was located in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood in a two-storey storefront. The iron-spotted brick material on the Amherst Street building apparently came from leftover building materials that were initially used for the interior work of Assumption Church on Amherst Street.”
Mark’s next step is to secure a tenant for the building, which he tells me has already commanded plenty of interest. At this point, it’s all about finding the perfect fit. Sounds like another successful save in Black Rock, where there is no dearth of inspiring initiatives.
The mural photo is part of the Black Rock Historic Photo Project (Grant-Amherst Business Association). Historic photo submitted by Mary Ann Barone.