Washington's Waterworks Building

The historic Waterworks Building stands in Rennick Riverfront Park June 21. Renovations for the building are planned after the Washington City Council approved an architectural and engineering services contract Monday, Sept. 20, during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting. Missourian Photo/Julia Hansen.

A Washington landmark will be getting a $370,000 face-lift in the coming weeks after the Washington City Council approved an architectural and engineering services contract at Monday’s meeting. 

The focus of the contract between the city and Horn Architects, of Washington, is the Waterworks Building, 1 Elbert Drive, which was constructed in 1888 along the city’s riverfront. 

“It is work that needs to be done to the building anyways in order to get it in a condition where it is occupiable for a tenant,” said Darren Lamb, Washington city administrator. Lamb said the city has received a signed letter of intent from a Washington business owner who wants to use the space primarily for retail. 

“We feel very comfortable that this will enhance downtown, that the proposed use is going to be an asset for us as a city and fit within our riverfront park,” Lamb said. He said he couldn’t name the developer or elaborate on the terms of the proposed lease due to ongoing negotiations, which will go before the Washington City Council for final approval in the coming months. 

“We look forward to hopefully having the tenant in the Waterworks Building in the spring of 2022,” Lamb said. The proposed tenant came forward after the city’s search for potential tenants in mid-June did not yield any proposals. At the time, the city sought proposals for both the Waterworks Building and the 3,000-square-foot Freight Depot, located along Front Street adjacent to Heritage Park. 

Lamb said the city has since received the proposal for the Waterworks Building and is in talks with another business about occupying the Freight Depot. 

The talks involving the Freight Depot have not progressed as far as those involving the Waterworks Building, according to Lamb. 

Per the contract with Horn Architects, the scope of the work at the Waterworks Building includes demolition of the existing wooden floor on both the ground floor and lower level, as well as the design of a new wooden floor, stairs and railings that will meet “mercantile use” requirements.

The potential work also includes installing a new concrete floor in the lower level, adding a new accessible bathroom, tuck-pointing existing masonry and window replacement and repair. 

In addition to electrical improvements, new interior and exterior painting, sidewalk improvements and the addition of a bike rack, the contract also calls for installing new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units and ductwork for the main floor and the replacement of the existing HVAC units on the second floor. 

Lamb said the improvements, which will be paid for by the city, were included in the budget approved by the city council on Monday. 

Any additional improvements will be done at the tenant’s expense, Lamb said. 

Horn will submit its renderings, when ready, to multiple contractors in hopes of receiving multiple bids for the work. 

The Waterworks Building most recently was home to an antiques business. The main floor is 2,160 square feet. There is a basement and a second floor, each measuring about 650 square feet. Public parking will be included as part of the leased property.