Historic building in West Monroe to be renovated for new Arts Council office

·3 min read

Downtown West Monroe is getting yet another face lift.

A historic building located at 118 Cotton St. will look a little different come May, as BA Studio, an architectural firm in downtown West Monroe, purchased the building and is working with the city to renovate the space for the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.

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The renovations will also transform the Trenton Street side of the building into a future storefront and the upstairs space for residential use, either as an Airbnb or apartment.

The Cotton Street building dates back to the 1920s, according to Tim Brandon, owner of TBA Studio. His research said the building started out most likely as a dry-goods store.

Brandon said he purchased the building mainly because the opportunity to purchase a historic building rarely presents itself. He said he bought it for about $300,000 and renovations will cost about the same amount.

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council will move to downtown West Monroe in May following renovations of the historic Cotton Street building.
The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council will move to downtown West Monroe in May following renovations of the historic Cotton Street building.

"We don't have any historic photographs of this building, so what we're doing is we're taking historic elements that we're finding in other places, mainly on Trenton Street, and bringing them back here," Brandon said. "The design of the awnings over the windows is going to be designed in a historic-type of way. The storefront is going to be kind of stepped in."

The red brick on the bottom portion of the building, which was likely a later addition, will be removed and replaced with glass. The rest of the brick will be painted a singular color to match the historic look of other buildings, Brandon said. Awnings will be placed over the two windows at the top, and the Arts Council logo will hang just below.

The Arts Council was previously located at city hall, but Barry Stevens, president and CEO of the Arts Council, said the organization has outgrown its current space.

"We're going to have a small gallery space, which can double as a meeting space; we will have separate offices," Stevens said. "This changes the entire complexion of the Arts Council. We'll be down here in this cultural district promoting the arts."

Brandon said construction should take about three months, giving a May finish date.

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The historic building at 118 Cotton St. will be renovated as the new home of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council. The space will also allow for a new Trenton Street storefront and an upstairs apartment.
The historic building at 118 Cotton St. will be renovated as the new home of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council. The space will also allow for a new Trenton Street storefront and an upstairs apartment.

West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell said the downtown area has received $10 million in private investments since 2018. This amount has contributed to the purchase of buildings and their renovations. Mitchell said the growth of downtown is attributable to the partnership between private and public entities.

"It's all about is all of us working together privately and publicly to increase the economic development for our area; that's what makes it successful," Mitchell said. "And I have a feeling that when I'm up here in a couple of years or next year announcing something else that we're going to be able to say 'How much more,' because you'll see all the construction going on."

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This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Historic West Monroe building to be renovated for Arts Council office

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