Brenton Lavelle and Mike Beverick are business partners who love small-town America and want to enhance and preserve it.
Housebuilder (Beverick) and recently retired civil service officer (Lavelle) started the company Plain Holding LLP over a year ago. The company’s first project was to build some houses in the Plain and Lake Wenatchee areas.
They did some of their banking at Umpqua Bank in Waterville, and through branch manager Katie Shafer, they learned about a two-acre property for sale on the east edge of town. They purchased the lot and have plans to have it ready as a storage facility before next winter.
Then they got to talking with Mayor Jill Thompson, building inspector Frank Spaun and town staff members about the three Kope Estate properties, which the Kope family needed to sell after Ray Kope perished in the April garage fire.
The properties caught the interest of Lavelle and Beverick.
“We’re always open to unique projects,” Lavelle said, adding they like the challenge and they like being able to resurrect buildings from the past.
Plain Holding LLP cut a deal for all three properties, which include the former garage site, the restaurant on Locust Street, and the home and autocourt on Baker Street.
They also bought the Gray Building which is located next to the former Kopey’s Restaurant.
Since that time Lavelle, Beverick, and partner contractors have been working quickly to clean out the properties and get them ready for their next life.
The plan is to turn the auto court into an 8-plex housing unit. The home next to the autocourt will have an upstairs and downstairs unit and the autocourt itself will be transformed into five units. Lavelle emphasized that the units will not be low-income housing. The company has almost $350,000 budgeted for its renovation, and the finished product is designed to be of high quality.
So far, the company has removed all of the items inside the buildings and has torn down the walls. They will start building them over again from the skeleton. Lavelle said plans are for the apartments to be available for rent beginning in March.
Though they will be new, high quality apartments, the style of the building will not change, Lavelle and Beverick said. In fact, they are planning to have the exterior painted white and red as it is today. That is all a part of their vision to preserve the original character of the buildings they are purchasing.
At the same time that they have been working at the autocourt, Lavelle and Beverick have been putting in a new roof over the restaurant and Gray buildings and are cleaning them out. They plan to open a laundromat in half of the Gray Building and will have rental space in the other half. They have offered the town the possibility of a long term lease for the library in the rental space.
These buildings are part of the historic core of Waterville’s Main Street and Beverick said that Plain Holding Company has been working with the Waterville Historic Preservation Commission to ensure that they are preserving the historical qualities of the buildings as they renovate.
They plan to turn the restaurant building into a hardware store and lumber yard. Lavelle said that Plain Holding Company will be looking for a manager and employees for the hardware store.
Plans for the former garage site are up in the air, and Lavelle said that he and Beverick are listening to ideas from community members and trying to figure out the best use of that land. The idea that they are currently entertaining is to create an open air market there, that would include a brewery. Another possible idea is to create more housing, perhaps a condominium complex.
In the meantime, the company will be working to clean up the site and cap off the basement to eliminate any possible hazard to the community. Weather permitting they are hoping to finish this by the end of December. They will develop their plan for the property next year and build in 2022, Lavelle said.
Lavelle said that he and Beverick are excited for the contribution they hope to make to the town.
“We want to bring some employment here and we want people to spend their money here,” Lavelle said.
Lavelle and Beverick’s commitment to Waterville seems like that of long term residents. In fact, both the Lavelle and Beverick families plan to make their homes in Waterville when they get breathing room from their current projects.
“We want to be a part of the community and not absentee landlords,” Lavelle said.