One of the biggest changes will be a replacement of the roof in order to create a proposed rooftop public space for tenants of the building.
“The current roof wasn’t built to handle those types of loads,” he said. “It will be one of the great new amenities that this building will be able to provide for the people who work there.” Lakota said another big selling point of the building will be the conversion of the large loading docks into a parking area.
Demolition is expected to continue for another four or five months, followed by construction of a few of the suites on the fourth level to begin showing prospective tenants what the building will be like when completed.
Lakota said public reaction has been enthusiastic.
“I was on a river cruise recently that was passing by the old post office, and the guide was speaking very enthusiastically about the work being done on the building,” Lakota said. “I don’t think he knew everything that was going on, but he was very excited that the building was going to be reused and restored.”
While maintaining the character of the old building, necessary renovations will bring it up to the standards of other contemporary commercial buildings – for example, the replacement of single-pane windows with modern insulated windows and the cleaning and restoration of the stone façade.
“It’s going to look a lot different from what it looks like right now,” Lakota said. “Once they start wiping away 100 years of grime from the façade, it’s going to be a very impressive building. It will bring a brand new life to it.”
He is also happy to still be involved with the project as things finally get rolling.
“I’ve been working on it for so long, it’s just so exciting that it’s finally now going to happen,” he said. “Since doing that structural investigation of the building back in 1996, there have been a lot of false starts. But we are finally seeing a scheme to reuse the building that is going to get implemented. It’s great to see this large, iconic building at a point where it is going to be used, not crumble away.”