The Market Building - Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

Chelan’s Market Building Receives Excellence on Main Award
SEATTLE – Chelan’s Market Building received the “Excellence on Main Award” at
Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony on May 16 in Vancouver,
Washington. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s
Preservation and Main Street Conference.
The original Market Building in downtown Chelan has a long and storied history. Between
1915 and 1918, two buildings were constructed on the site housing a grocery market and
mechanics shop. In the early 1920s, the J.C. Penney Company joined the two buildings and
added a partial second floor. For over 40 years, J.C. Penney’s anchored the building but
eventually left in the 1960s. Over the next 40 years, the building had a revolving door of
owners and suffered a series of makeovers, including removal of windows and the
replacement of the recessed entry with a faux stone façade.
After the last owner left, the building sat empty for four years and became a detriment to
the visual character and economic vitality of the downtown retail core. Barb and Jon
Wadkins, owners of Lake Chelan Sports, decided they couldn’t sit by and watch the
building deteriorate any further. Barb, a founding member of the Historic Downtown
Chelan Association, and Jon, a longtime vendor at the Chelan’s Farmer’s Market, engaged
architect and preservationist Larry Hibbard and his wife Mary Murphy to join them in
returning the building to productive use. After working through a complex series of legal
hearings and negotiations, the two couples persevered, and in 2007, the Market Building
renovation was complete.
Two businesses moved in immediately, and a third business opened later that summer on
the second floor. The building’s evolution from an eyesore to beautifully restored historic
property benefited the entire street, and adjacent establishments reported an increase in
business as a direct result of the rehabilitation. Unfortunately, less than four years later, in
2011, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the Market Building. Undeterred, the owners
renewed their commitment to downtown Chelan and began plans to rebuild. Great effort
was made to make sure the new building fit into the fabric of the town and compliment
adjacent historic structures. The two main tenants also recommitted to the Market
Building and collaborated with the owners to rebuild and improve their businesses. A
balcony eating area was added in Marcela’s Restaurant space along with a redesigned
kitchen and new bar. In Willow, a popular home decor store, the display area was
increased, and the office was relocated to the upper level. The new building design reflects
many features of the earlier 1920s building, including high decorative ceilings, wood floors,
recessed entry, brick façade, tile spandrels, and copper clad windows. The owners decided
to replace the second floor commercial unit in the building with a residential unit that
offers 360-degree roof top views. This is the first new residential unit built in the downtown
in over 70 years!
Cindy Salazar, Executive Director of Historic Downtown Chelan Association, credits the
project with “adding to the economic vitality of the commercial district, introducing a
residential living option downtown, and raising the standard for building quality in
Chelan.” She goes on to say, “With tenacity and Main Street member support, this project
succeeded despite significant challenges – a series of court hearings to get control of the
building, the initial restoration, a devastating fire, displacement of two businesses, and
reconstruction that faced numerous code issues – to become one of Chelan’s most admired
“We take great pleasure in presenting this award to Barb and Jon Wadkins and Larry
Hibbard and Mary Murphy, the owners of Chelan’s Market Building, for their exceptional
vision, dedication, and tenacity,” said Sarah Hansen, Washington State Main Street
The Excellence on Main Awards, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program,
recognizes communities, organizations, and individuals who are helping to achieve
economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and
preservation. Washington’s Main Street Program is housed in the Department of
Archaeology and Historic Preservation and administered, under contract, by the
Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
For more information, please contact Sarah Hansen, Washington Main Street Program
Coordinator, at the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation [email protected] or
Local Contact: Cindy Salazar, Historic Downtown Chelan Association, at 509.682.4322 or
[email protected]