In the 1970s, Cynthia and George Mitchell began purchasing and rehabilitating Galveston’s historic buildings in a once battered downtown Galveston. This commitment continues today and was recently recognized by the Galveston Historical Foundation. On Oct. 15, Mitchell Historic Properties received the 2016 Sally Wallace Preservation Award for Outstanding Rehabilitation for the restoration of the east two bays of the 1859 Hendley Row Buildings, located at Strand and 20th.
When Hendley Row was built, in the late 1850's, these buildings represented one of the largest and most substantial business houses in Texas. The Hendley Buildings are one of the oldest surviving commercial blocks in downtown Galveston.
In 2008 Preservation Texas put the building on the Texas’ Most Endangered list. George P. Mitchell purchased the building in February 2012, the week before Mardi Gras. At the time Mr. Mitchell had started the work on The Hendley Building, it was estimated that the building had been without a roof for at least a decade. Without repair, an exterior wall would have collapsed within five years. Few buildings restored by the Mitchells presented as many challenges as the renovation of this building.
“When I inspected the Hendley Building for the first time after taking ownership I knew we had a project on our hands,” said Joseph B. Rozier, General Manager of Real Estate Operations at Mitchell Historic Properties.“I entered the third floor stair landing and saw that a roof truss had collapsed and with it sections of the roof framing, on top of that I could see the daylight through the brick walls where the mortar was supposed to be keeping the wall together.”
Crews worked to stabilize the building with steel beams and towering wooden supports. Phase I of the renovation cleaned the site of environmental issues from Hurricane Ike. Phase II consisted of new roofing, rehabilitation and replacement of windows, thermal and moisture protection of the exterior building envelope; and damaged masonry behind existing plaster was repaired. In some places, 24-inch thick exterior walls had deteriorated to the thickness of a single brick.
Phase III consisted of building out the first floor retail spaces to white box finish including ceilings, walls, floors, plaster/stucco and painting. This phase also included the installation of an elevator, HVAC systems, repair or replacement of doors, door hardware, restrooms and light fixtures for public areas and retail spaces.
The west side of the second floor will be converted into office space and the remaining second and third floors will be built out for future residential units. The renovation of the Hendley building was complete in August 2016. Appropriately, the oldest historic preservation society in the state of Texas, Galveston Historical Foundation, is now housed in one of the oldest commercial building in Galveston. Galveston Historical Foundation’s retail shop, Eighteen Seventy One, is the first retail tenant to inhabit the building; and the Foundation will handle leasing to any future retail tenants.
“The Mitchell family shares a deep appreciation for Galveston’s heritage,” said Grant Mitchell, President of Mitchell Historic Properties, “and we remain inspired by the vision of my parents. The buildings they saved speak to us as much as they did to them. My family is firmly dedicated to preserving my parents’ legacy.”
About Mitchell Historic Properties
Mitchell Historic Properties oversees Galveston properties owned by the Cynthia and George Mitchell family, including three hotels, The Hotel Galvez & Spa, The Tremont House, and Harbor House Hotel & Marina, as well as, commercial and residential properties located downtown and at Pier 21® along Galveston’s historic harbor. The Mitchell’s ongoing preservation of Galveston’s historic downtown helped spark the resurrection of The Strand National Historic Landmark District and Pier 21® as a tourist destination. For leasing information, visit www.MitchellHistoricProperties.com or call (409) 761-4110