O'Connor offices to move, prompting big changes downtown (Video)

Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.

Steel beams used for support run the length of the building formally used as Kamin Furniture. The estate of Thomas O'Connor is taking over the site that moves it to another downtown location.

Steel beams used for support run the length of the building formally used as Kamin Furniture. The estate of Thomas O'Connor is taking over the site that moves it to another downtown location.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

From the white building wrap covering its exterior to the sounds of construction coming from inside, all signs point to progress at the place the estate of Thomas O'Connor will soon call home.

The organization purchased the 30,000-square-foot building at 120 Santa Rosa St., which once housed Kamin Furniture, about a year ago with plans to transform the space into offices, said Bland Proctor, the estate's in-house counsel.

The O'Connor estate also purchased Kamin's former 8,000-square-foot Firehouse Store, at the rear of the property on 208 S. Liberty St., for the same purpose.

Crews with Krueger Construction already have finished the roofs, Proctor said, and gutted the buildings' insides. Now, he said, they're installing heating and air-conditioning systems, interior walls and an elevator that will run from the basement to a mezzanine.

The estate has called One O'Connor Plaza home since the building first went up in the mid-1980s.

Proctor said the chance to own a building led the estate to the move.

"There comes a time when you no longer want to pay rent," he said from his 10th-floor office.

Casey Beasley, a partner with Kemp Properties, which owns the property, said seven or eight new tenants joined One O'Connor in 2012, and although the company has not yet filled the estate's soon-to-be-vacated space, it plans to host an open house once the area is empty.

He said plans also call for creation of meeting space on the building's first floor.

Other downtown renovations include a structure at 212 S. Main St., which area jeweler Torin Bales plans to transform into a restaurant or event venue, a former bank drive-thru at 101 S. William St. that business owner Robby and Tami Burdge plan to convert into loft-style apartments and an incoming steakhouse Realtors Dennis Patillo and Louise Hull Patillo have under way at the top of One O'Connor Plaza.

Larry Clark, the Victoria Main Street Program's board chairman, said he was glad to see the updates under way.

It's good to see new life coming into the buildings already in downtown Victoria, he said, noting the renovations bring multiple benefits to Victoria.

Older residents enjoy the region's history and appreciate seeing downtown return to much the way it used to be, he explained. Historical tourism is on the rise statewide, he said, noting it could mean more revenue for Victoria.

"I couldn't ask for more," Clark said. "This is fantastic."

As for Proctor, he said he likes what others are doing in their restoration efforts, and is proud to be part of it. Exterior updates will begin shortly.

While crews will not take the exteriors back to what they once were - the Santa Rosa site consists of three buildings built at different times - he said the buildings will fit in with other nearby structures.

Rawley McCoy and Associates is the project's architects.

He said he expects construction to be complete by the end of April, and to move in May.

"Krueger and Rawley have been working really hard," he said. "I think this is something people will be proud of."



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