Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Charitone Update: Getting in at ground level

It's hard to believe that what just a few months ago was a dark, floorless two-story pit behind the Hotel Charitone's elevator shaft has turned into this --- a light and spacious new ground-level entry from the north parking lot for tenants of the 12 apartments on the restored building's top three floors.

This also will be the Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant entrance for guests at the new Charitone Market Grille, when it opens on the first floor in a few weeks.

Although finishing work remains, it's looking good. Located a half-floor below the building's first floor, tenants and guests enter the four-passenger elevator housed in the original shaft here for transport to the restaurant level, to second-through-fourth-floor apartments --- or to the basement if there's a reason to go there.

Chariton Historic Preservation Commission members actually exited through the new entrance late Tuesday after walking through the Charitone's first floor and basement to see how the work was coming along, but we got the idea.

And if you've been wondering about the battered old front door of the Charitone, still in place, a new front door that looks like this one, both patterned after the original front door, will be installed when construction is complete.

In case you missed it, tenants moved into the Charitone beginning Jan 1 and the 12 apartments are all occupied. The upper floors --- light-filled apartments opening off long quiet hallways --- are quite a contrast to the construction zone below.

If we'd taken the elevator up to the first floor, here's the exit --- where it always has been right beside the original Charitone staircase, in use until construction is complete primarily for emergencies, but fully accessible from the upper (and lower) floors.

Note the tile floor, pretty dusty here. This is the original lobby floor surface of the Charitone and will be fully restored and polished to serve the new lobby and the Market Grille bar area. The colors under that dust are maroon and gold.

Here's a view from the doors of the restaurant looking west through the lobby into what will become the bar area. The bar itself will be around the corner to the right and food service will be available here, too. The battered original front door will be replaced and the area between the bar and restaurant finished as a waiting-lobby area with elevator and stair access.

This is another view west, but this one from the far end of the restaurant (with Mel Wilson in the foreground). To meet fire code, a glass wall will separate the restaurant from the lobby area and the bar beyond.

And here's the main kitchen --- venting duct work is in place but so far neither appliances nor walls. The cooking will be done here and I was standing inside the huge cooler to shoot this. Note the tile floor. This surface is original to the first Charitone restaurant and, again, will be restored. A long kitchen prep area is located north of the kitchen, running the full length of the restaurant area. Storage and service areas as well as the original Charitone garage, big enough for the catering vehicle to fit into, are located at the far east end of the building.

In a few weeks, these steel-framed areas will be restrooms serving the public floor of the hotel. The entrance to a family restroom will be located in the lobby; separate men's and women's restrooms down a short hall accessed from just inside the restaurant. There also will be two fully finished restrooms in the basement.

There's plenty of high well-lighted space available in the basement, but the area will not be finished now, remaining available for those with bright ideas and more money. An exception will be an enclosed hallway allowing access to the restroom, storage-service areas --- and to the unifinished areas.

This is where the barbershop was located during the Charitone's early days. The original outside entrance (behind plywood) and a double window into the exterior stair  well are at left. A huge cooler for kegs to be tapped at the bar above is to the right of the steel framing.

And here's a view from west to east down the length of the basement, giving some idea of the space available for future projects.


Anonymous said...

I had an English teacher who had the top floor, southwest corner apartment in the 70s, and I would often dash up those main stairs to visit. The elevator always smelled like urine and you never knew who was going to be in it, so we always took the stairs. I'm glad to see it's being lovingly renovated.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Carmichael?