“This note is long overdue.
All of us at Ahsland Ventures LLC wish to extend you and your team at the Geneva History Museum our deepest gratitude for all you have done to facilitate our re-development of 25 N. Third Street in Geneva. Now known as Ashland Center.
A lot has happened since we purchased the property in August, 2014. We are proud of our accomplishments and the impact they have had on the Historic District’s economic and aesthetic vitality. And our work has been a catalyst for others to follow our lead — resulting in significant additional property renovation and new business development on North Third Street.
As you know, Ashland Center has been recognized with two historic preservation awards for our work to date. And, we have earned both the EPA’s Energy Star and IREM’s sustainable building certifications for our energy saving and green/sustainability initiatives. For an older building, this is quite special. We are proud of these achievements. We will stay the course as we move forward.
We could not have achieved these results without the Geneva History Museum. The Museum helped focus and communicate our vision by enabling us to understand how the property has evolved and influenced the community.
Through its careful stewardship of the City’s written and photographic history, the Museum’s research team was able to assemble a detailed provenance of the property. This enabled us to provide important context as we discussed our re-development plan with the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission.
Based on the Museum’s guidance, we ensured that key design and architectural elements of the property were retained and integrated into Ashland Center. From the signage pylon and glass curtain wall when the building was a grocery store — to the vaults and doors, drive up teller window and night depository that were added when the building was repurposed to become a community bank in the late 1960s.
Even the bank vault’s gate was preserved and restored. It now graces the property’s new patio and sustainable green space as a trellis.
Ashland Ventures is proud to be a Herrington Circle member of the Museum. And, to have been able to add to the Museum’s reference library by donating many early twentieth century bank ledgers we discovered during renovation. Incredible archives that somehow round their way into Ashland Center’s lower vault, only to languish and be abandoned by previous owners. Now, they are valuable research assets of the Museum.
And we are Museum acolytes. During the restoration, we discovered three original drawings prepared by prominent local architects to support the late 1960s conversion of the building from grocery store to community bank. These and two of the circa 1910 bank ledgers have been carefully conserved, and are on display at the building. As always, we extend an open invitation to the Museum to borrow them for exhibitions.
We expect to complete our core redevelopment plan for the building and its adjacent properties this Summer.
Ashland Ventures considers the Geneva History Museum a strategic partner in our initiatives. Simply stated, the Museum documents and conserves Geneva’s heritage — going beyond legacy to assist Geneva’s ongoing growth. Ashland Center’s work reflects that. The Museum plays a critical role to provide both public awareness and perspective — to educate as well as guide City visitors and the citizens of Geneva alike.
It is important work not lost on us. We are but one beneficiary of the Museum’s continuing commitment and programs.
Paul E. Kawalek
Chairman, Ashland Ventures LLC