Saturday, October 12, 2013

Charitone Update: Rooms with a View

You're supposed to imagine yourselves --- in what now is more a matter of weeks than months --- seated at a table in front of one of these west-facing windows in the bar area of the Hotel Charitone restaurant enjoying a meal or a drink --- and the courthouse view.

Re-installation of all the old hotel's windows during the last few weeks --- west and south restored, north and east new --- has awaken this cornerstone of Chariton's square. Move-in date for tenants is January 1. Not long now before it's full of life again from top to bottom.

Notice, too, that after several months of construction rubble, all of the barricades and protective fencing has been removed and the old sidewalk taken up and replaced from the alley east of the hotel around the corner and down the block north along North Grand. Still to come are a permanent railing around the exterior basement stair along the building's west side and coverings for the window wells along the south front.

And if you've been wondering about the big corner "Hotel Charitone" sign --- it has been moved to West Burlington to undergo restoration. There has been considerable fussing about the colors of neon that once lighted it. I remembered "Charitone" in red, as did many others --- including Joe Holder, an exceptional store of lore regarding 20th century Chariton --- so red it will be. "Hotel" will be in white. The sign will be rehung and rewired when it's ready.

I played tag-along again late Thursday during a tenant visit to the building, where work is advancing rapidly in the apartments starting on the fourth floor and progressing downward, the same order in which windows were re-installed.

Ten of the 12 apartments now have been reserved. Fourth-floor south, a two-bedroom, remains available as does one of the north one-bedroom units.

Don't assume, however, that everyone you see in a photo is preparing to move in. This was a mix of tenants, tenant families, friends and tourists. It's up to you to figure out which is which.

We gathered in the lobby before going to the fourth floor, where apartments are most nearly complete. As you can see here, the elevator shaft to the left has been opened so that the new car can be installed. The car itself as well as other parts of the assembly still are in boxes along the south wall of the restaurant area.

Soon, the tenant and handicap entrance will be cut in the hotel's north wall beyond the shaft and stair and the ground-level lobby built. From that small lobby, where mail boxes will be located, tenants and guests will be able to enter the elevator through a new door in the north wall of the shaft, then go directly to their floors or, if they wish, rise a few feet and exit through a south elevator door into the restaurant.

For now, however, it's necessary to climb the hotel's original staircase to the fourth floor, where we started the tour in the west apartment. The open-plan living, dining and kitchen area is located in the southwest corner. Here, as elsewhere, cabinetry is being installed, the concrete floor has been prepped for final covering, the base coat of paint is on all the walls, trim is being installed and doors are ready for insertion.

All of these apartments are flooded with light because of the building's many windows. Since the windows won't be washed until the project is nearing completion and the sun was in a difficult late-afternoon place, the outlook is a little smudged, but here in general is what tenants of the three west apartments will see from their living rooms.

Two bedrooms, bathroom-laundry and a small study are located north of the main living area in all of the west apartments.

Here's the living area of the north one-bedroom apartment --- and these apartments on all three floors have what seem to be huge living rooms as well as slightly larger bedrooms. I'm using this photo to demonstrate the tendency of humans to flee whenever a camera is pointed in their direction. They didn't quite get away. And here's the view north from the living room windows of these apartments.

Continuing down the central hall to the east apartment, here's what the entrance hall looks like. The entrance to the living area is immediately to the right, doors to the two bedrooms to the left and right farther along and the door to the bathroom-laundry straight ahead.

This is my favorite bedroom, with windows to the east and south. It has a conventionally-sized closet, but closet size varies widely throughout the building. The closet off the north bedroom in this apartment, for example, is a huge walk-in. All tenants also will have storage units in the large and newer steel building at the northeast corner of the Charitone lot that has been used as construction headquarters during the restoration project.

And here's the view east, out over the roof of the Charitone Annex next door. Obviously, the roof currently is being replaced. This two-story structure just east of the hotel was the original White Front Hotel, then upon completion of the new Charitone during 1923 was attached to it with more hotel rooms on the second floor. Eventually ownership was divided, but the building deteriorated along with the hotel.

Hotel Chariton LLC now owns the Annex again and while it is not being redeveloped as part of the current Charitone project, its roof will be the site of exterior units for the Charitone's variable refrigerant flow heating and cooling system. As a result, the roof had to be replaced and exterior brickwork repaired.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very wonderful to see my favorite building getting all spiffed up and people moving on by the 1st of January!