TEXARKANA, Texas — Workers on Tuesday removed a portion of the modern facade of the former Texarkana National Bank downtown, providing a glimpse at the original architecture local developers plan to restore.
The "reveal" event was organized by local entrepreneur David Peavy, whose company Texarkana Renewal Properties plans to rehabilitate the century-old building at West Broad Street and North State Line Avenue. A few dozen onlookers gathered across the street.
Peavy thanked local government for cooperating with him on the project.
"They're working with me to figure out how we can make this happen. It's an impossible task, and it can't be made possible without the support of you guys and the citizens and the help of the governments that make things happen," he said.
Mayor Bob Bruggeman said it was "a very, very important day for our community" and complimented the efforts of Peavy and others to revive Texarkana's downtown.
Judge Josh Morriss, who owns downtown's Silvermoon on Broad theater and event venue, also spoke about the area's "slow resurrection."
"I'm here to tell you this morning that things are looking brighter in downtown Texarkana. I'm sure that everyone here will remember when the prevailing adjectives that described downtown were things like abandoned, derelict, decayed, dangerous, dead.
"Now, certainly we have a long way to go, but I would say to you the return is in sight and is now in progress, reclaiming the old momentum. We are coming back. Now I would offer these descriptors, which you hear coming into use more often. These are taking over the narrative: new, restored, fun, treasured, celebrated, cool," Morriss said.
In about 1970, former owners covered the eight-story building with a modern aluminum, stucco and marble facade, hiding the original red brick and classical-style ornamentation.
Interior decoration was covered, as well, but much is still there and Peavy also plans to restore the building's lobby. On Tuesday, he opened the building to the public, and the lobby's original moldings and tile floors were visible where portions of drywall, newer flooring and a drop ceiling had been removed.
Peavy also owns 1894 City Market, a restored, mixed-use space at Olive and Front streets formerly known as the Ritchie Grocery Building, as well as the Flying Crow, a restored railroad dining car he converted into a cafe.
Peavy has not announced any timeline for the Texarkana National Bank project.