Clearwater’s century-old Telephone Building enters next phase of top-to-bottom historic restoration.
The Cleveland Street Alliance is proud to announce the next phase of its historic restoration of the Telephone Building. The comprehensive restoration of the building encompasses its historic brick exterior and architectural features, structural and mechanical upgrades and entirely new floors, returning the interiors to the style of the 1920s.
In addition to restoration and renovation planning, the alliance expands its team to include designers and consultants specializing in historic properties and historic preservation. Among them is Tampa-based Stephanie Ferrell, founder of Ferrell Redevelopment, a recognized leader in the preservation field and recipient of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Medal of Honor for her service to the community.
For more than 50 years, the classic beauty of the Telephone Building on Cleveland Street was hidden behind a monolithic stucco enclosure. During a partial renovation in 2007, the false front was removed, revealing the building’s original highly detailed façade.
Once fully restored, the 10,000-square-foot building will have space for a restaurant on the ground floor, with outdoor seating along the side street. The upper two floors will be completely rebuilt and refit for creative office space, with a separate entry along Garden Avenue.
The Telephone Building is the first of three historic restoration projects on Cleveland Street that will last for generations to come. It’s the cornerstone of development that will pave the way for a new beginning and a bright future for downtown Clearwater.
To restore the original brickwork, while at the same time meeting today’s stringent hurricane codes, the Telephone Building will essentially be rebuilt and reinforced from the inside out. The installation of an internal steel frame throughout the building will address any deterioration from the past century, secure the existing brick walls and make the entire three-story building structurally sound—up to current code standards—with capacity to meet Florida’s coastal winds.
The existing second and third floors will be completely removed and rebuilt. This entails taking out and replacing each of the building’s 179 floor joists. The floors will then be fitted with all new structurally sound decking. These new wood structural components will be exposed on all floors and stained, creating a warm and historically accurate environment.
Inspection of the building’s back wall revealed symptoms of serious structural deficiencies necessitating its complete demolition, structural reframing and rebuilding from foundation to roof.
An entirely new steel framework, secured with galvanized anchor bolts, will be installed to support the back of the building.
The existing dilapidated exterior fire escape will be removed and a new interior fire exit stairwell constructed, creating a safe path of egress for occupants.
The three-story back wall will be replaced with brick, carefully selected to blend with the original.
A new wraparound cantilevered awning, mounted to the building with steel tie rods and decorative anchors, will be installed along the length of the east and south sides of the building—returning one of the building’s distinctive 1914 details.
New hurricane-rated insulated windows
The existing windows will be replaced with new, insulated, hurricane-rated windows replicating the style of the original. Windows that had been removed or bricked over during earlier renovations will be restored to their original positions.
The façade will be inspected brick by brick, and any found to be damaged or missing will be replaced with bricks matching the color and patina of the original. All existing mortar will also be examined and repointed to historic preservation standards.
The existing roof will be entirely removed and replaced with a new ENERGY STAR-rated roof. The wood roof structure will be replaced with structurally reinforced trusses, rafters and beams. The new, reflective, eco-friendly thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roof will protect the building envelope from any future water penetration, while at the same time saving energy.
The HVAC throughout will be replaced with a split system, providing 30 tons of cooling. Duct lines will be double-wall steel insulated with eco-friendly materials and no fiberglass irritants. The condenser units will be located on the roof, with central air handlers located on each floor for tenant comfort.
Interior walls will be insulated using eco-friendly, recycled denim material.
The electrical system will be fully replaced, with all new conduit, wiring, receptacles and switches. The electrical service will be upgraded to 1,200-amp capacity, providing more than enough electrical capacity for a ground-floor restaurant, with ample power for second- and third-floor creative offices.
Existing original plumbing lines will be replaced with new copper piping, with dedicated high-capacity water heaters and a grease trap for ground-floor restaurant tenant.
A dignified and classic interior for new tenants.
Restoration of the interior public areas will give a nod to how the Telephone Building might have looked in the 1920s. The lobby will feature dark wood wainscoting and doors, decorative cornices and antique brass hardware and fixtures.
The building’s outdated elevator will be replaced with a brand-new system.
In keeping with the 1920s style, both the elevator doors and Art Deco-style building directory will be finished in burnished brass.
Another example of the level of historic restoration detail is the lobby restrooms. They reflect the original style of the building: from the porcelain subway tile walls and polished concrete flooring to the classic console sink with brass legs and piping.
Architectural LED lighting will highlight the Telephone Building’s signature dentil cornice and brickwork features.