The retired Montrose Potato Growers Association

The retired Montrose Potato Growers Association building at 39 West Main St. in downtown Montrose, Tuesday Sept. 24, 2019. 

A building with 100-plus years of history in Montrose will get a facelift thanks in part to it being designated a historic property.

The Montrose City Council voted unanimously on Oct. 1 to designate the Potato Growers Association building, 39 West Main Street, as a historic property. This is the second Montrose building to receive such a designation, as City Hall was recently tapped as the first.

The historic brick structure was built in 1908 after the original wooden structure burned earlier that same year. The building was a warehouse for the Montrose Fruit Growers Association, the Montrose Fruit and Produce Association, and, later for the Montrose Potato Growers Association.

“Not only do we as developers gain access to historic preservation funding, which will help ensure that the rehabilitation happens and that it happens in the appropriate manner in which the building deserves, but the recognition cements the building’s place in our community as the cultural and economic hub that it once was,” co-owner of the building David Fishering said in a press release.

Fishering, also the co-owner (alongside his father Greg) of Storm King Distillery, located adjacent to the potato growers building, previously told the Montrose Daily Press, it would cost some $2 million to fix the old building without any historic preservation capital.

But once tax credits and grants are included, the price to renovate would be more reasonable, David Fishering said.

Greg Fishering noted that building showcases Montrose’s history, citing ledgers they’ve found with recognizable family names, a vault room and a pallet elevator.

When asked by city council if changes will be made to the building, Greg said their goal is to restore the facility to what it originally looked like in the early 1900s. Additionally, a deck will be built facing Main Street, with the possibility of it stretching on the east side of the building.

According to the History Colorado website, the amount of credit that can be earned is calculated as a percentage of the overall rehabilitation costs associated with the project-

• A 20 percent federal tax credit for the rehabilitation of certified historic buildings used for income-producing purposes

• A 20 percent state tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic, owner-occupied residences

• A 20-30 percent state tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic buildings used for income-producing purposes.

Funds for such historic preservation projects became possible thanks to an ordinance passed by the City of Montrose last year. The measure allows owners of older downtown structures — if they so choose — to pursue historic designation on their property.

The ordinance says once a building gets the designation, it keeps it permanently. A structure can receive the historic designation if it’s more than 50 years old.

The city’s historic preservation ordinance also allows the city to seek Certified Local Government status or CLG.

The program creates partnerships with local and state governments as well as national preservation organizations. The CLG permits the city to have a say in what structures are deemed historically important.

This status has helped start the process of refining the old Potato Growers building.

Mayor Dave Bowman said, before the vote, that the council wishes “the best of luck” to the Fisherings, renovating the project.

“We can’t wait to get started. I think once we really get going the community is going to love it,” David Fishering said. “We plan to have some events throughout the next 12 months that will give folks a chance to peek inside and see what some of our plans are, which should be a lot of fun for everyone. The goal is to get the building back to being a center of commerce and activity and hopefully really keep the redevelopment momentum going over here on West Main.”

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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