By SAMANTHA O’CONNER
The former Baker House building at 2330 Fifth St., near St. Elizabeth Towers, is getting a makeover, inside and out.
Gordon Holman, who bought the three-story building three months ago, plans to turn the structure into six condominiums.
“When I had an opportunity to see the building for the first time, I liked the way the building felt when I walked into the entry way,” Holman said. “I thought there were great opportunities despite the fact that we were looking at so much debris, so much clutter.”
The renovation will not be an easy or quick process, he emphasized.
The building was constructed in 1939 and has passed through many hands, including being used as a mental health center focusing on addiction and recovery, when it was known as Baker House.
In recent years, the building had been a spot where adults and kids would gather illegally, including some squatters.
“I saw the opportunities despite all the things that were wrong with it,” said Holman, who bought the building for $95,000, according to Baker County Assessor’s Office records.
Most of the damage was due to overflowing roof drains leaking water into the concrete walls, making the material soft and no longer structurally sound, Holman said.
He said he believes the building had not been heated for at least 15 years, and the excessive moisture caused most of the interior paint to peel.
There was abundant asbestos in the building as well, but that was removed recently.
“All of that was completed, I’ve got a clean building,” Holman said.
He said the condos will each have more than 1,600 square feet of living space, and he intends to build outside decks.
The building has a new roof, among other renovations.
“We’ve made some good strides but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” Holman said.
Future aspects of the project include repairing three of the four exterior walls, as well as installing an elevator.
Holman hopes to finish the work by June 2022.
But he said his main focus now is finishing another major renovation, of the former Foursquare Church, near the Baker County Courthouse at the corner of Third and Court.
Holman bought that building, constructed in 1929, in November 2020.
He started renovating that building earlier this year, working with Buddy Payne.