Visited an aging hundred-year-old hulk of a red-brick building in East Lawrence recently — 108 years old, actually, built in 1904.
The Poehler Building, a wholesale grocery distribution center for its first 50 years or so, is getting a complete restoration — using PROSOCO products, natch. In its second hundred years, it’ll be snazzy rent-controlled apartments. MCM Restoration Company, Fort Scott, Kan., is handling the masonry restoration, inside and out.
Not much is happening outside in the frigid February weather. But inside is active, and MCM Restoration Company President Craig McKenney took me: our graphic genius and photographer Stephen Falls; and our boss Marketing Director Scott Buscher into the guts of the Poehler Building for a glimpse of the restoration action. Stephen shot all these photos.
They’re looking at a grand opening in July.
One of the main jobs right now for Craig and company is getting the dilapidated white paint off the walls. Some places it’s easy and can be mechanically removed. Other places it has penetrated somewhat over the decades and has a steely grip on the brick. Grip or no, it’s got to come off. The walls will stay exposed.
PROSOCO’s Sure Klean Heavy Duty Paint Stripper gets brushed on, breaks the bond, then is pressure-rinsed off. The rinse gets caught by dams of roofing roll and plastic sheeting, and is pumped into vats. There, the solids settle to the bottom. The spent cleaner and water get neutralized and pre-treated, then pumped into a truck which carts it off to our local certified wastewater treatment plant.
The solids dry out into a “cake” (yum) and go into the dumpster.
Sand blasting got an audition for paint remover of choice, but didn’t make the cut.
Same with crushed walnut shells, another abrasive blast media.
MCM Restoration is also cutting the Poehler Building some new windows in the upper stories. On the top floor, the walls are three brick courses thick. On the first floor of the load-bearing masonry building, the walls are seven courses thick.
When the weather gets warmer, the building exterior will get a complete masonry restoration, Craig said, including 100 percent tuckpointing and cleaning and grafitti removal.
“After more than a hundred years, it may not look as good as when they built it,” Craig said, “but it’s going to come close — and be water-tight.”
By default, the Poehler Building will also be green, because as Washington, D.C. Architect Carl Elefante wrote in his famous “green” manifesto — “The greenest building is… one that is already built.”