Building for Tomorrow While Reclaiming the Past
By Stephanie Patterson
Have you ever had one of those days when you plan to go in one direction, then suddenly take another fork in the road and discover the place you were really meant to be? That’s precisely what happened to the Jane Garcia Team of Keller Williams Realty when they went looking for an office location in Scappoose, Oregon. A real estate office in Scappoose made perfect sense with the town’s evolving commuter culture and the excitement generated by Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center’s rapidly expanding membership of global partners – Boeing and Haimer among the noteworthy. There’s a lot of growth happening there with the anticipation of more to come.
“We were ready to sign on a lease,” Jane Garcia admits, “but something was missing.” Jennifer Pugsley, Jane’s twenty-year life partner, as well as co-owner of the real estate team’s new digs adds with a glint in her eye, “We were looking for something more, so Angela and I jumped in the car and went looking in St. Helens.” Angela refers to Angela Kane, the third member of the Jane Garcia Team who’s in charge of practical matters and making certain every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed in the business practice. She is also tasked with keeping the team’s collective feet on the ground.
On that fateful day Jennifer and Angela found 50, Plaza Square. The vacant building, constructed in 1928, was once the home to Columbia County Abstract Company, and more recently, St. Helens Computer. A brief conversation with the building’s owner revealed his interest in selling the property outright. Jane, the team’s ‘Negotiator’ moved to secure the purchase and work out the million and one details necessary to make their dream of a new office space, a reality. Jennifer Pugsley is the team’s visionary. She handles the marketing component for the Jane Garcia Team as well as acting as the driving force behind the renovations currently being performed on 50, Plaza Square. “This isn’t a Home Depot (style of) remodel,” Janes explains as she tells the story of Jennifer’s relentlessly search through old photographs, her consultations with local historians to come up with a plan that would return the 1920s charms of the structure. While this is not the only property renovation Jennifer has overseen, it is certainly the most ambitious to date. Not only was there the usual permitting process to navigate as in any remodel, but as part of the Downtown Historic District, the existence of the building’s previous features had to be proven before those original elements could be restored.
Deconstruction of the building has revealed historical treasures hidden for more than sixty years – the brickwork of the original façade, roof tiles and a bank of window framing that revealed there was once a row of mezzanine windows, similar to the ones previously exposed across the plaza on the City Hall building. These are all in the process of being restored as near to their original state as possible. “I felt like we were unwrapping a package. Every time we took something off (the building) the feeling would change,” says Jennifer. Arguably, the biggest discovery was a skylight that had been hidden from view by a drop ceiling since the 1960s. Jennifer and Jane intend to see it rebuilt with the assistance of CWA Designworks, LLC and Custom Made Wood Windows and Architectural Designs, LLC who have taken part in many historical renovations Portland.
In the meantime, there are countless other decisions to make, components to analyze from the quarter sawn oak, interior wood trim and rolling doors for the conference room, to the installation the period-style tile for the bottom of the exterior façade. In a few weeks, a team who specializes in replicating period, reverse gold-leaf painting will arrive to assess work for the door and windows of 50, Plaza Square. That’s particularly exciting for Jennifer who’s felt a connection to the property, the ‘something more’ she was looking for from the moment she stepped inside the building. She points to a shadow image of the address projected by the sunlight streaming through the door. “This image moves across the inside as the sun moves during the day,” she says. “It’s magical. So many things have just fallen into place with this project.”
The Jane Garcia Team is also looking forward to blending new technologies along with historic charm in their new home. Keller Williams Realty plans to launch a break-through app for buyers at the end of 2019’s second quarter which will allow them to search for their particular points of interests like white kitchens, or southern exposures. It’s just one of the things Jane, a forty-one-year veteran in real estate admires about Keller Williams, a real estate company who ranked number one nationally in 2018 for sales volume and units sold. “It’s an amazing business model,” she says. “It’s different to anything I’ve been involved with.” The blog, Smart Asset tags Keller Williams as, “a real estate force to be reckoned with.” Not surprisingly, so is the Jane Garcia Team.
NOTE: You can follow the progress of the renovation of 50, Plaza Square on it own FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/50-Plaza-Square-1928723733848059/