105 N. Front Street  |  Cotulla, Texas 78014, USA

The John A. Kerr Cotulla State Bank preservation restoration project



Front and Center Streets Cotulla. Texas
Site Visit July 3, 2010

Prepared for:
John Keck
303 Stratford Street Laredo, Texas 78041

Submitted By:
Frank Architects Inc.
901 Victoria Street Suite A
Laredo, Texas, 78040 956.725-7418

I. Project History / Historical Significance
John A. Kerr, early day merchant of Cotulla, designed and constructed the town's first brick building in 1883 on the Northeast comer of Center and Fronts Streets, "one year after the advent of the railroad". The structure originally functioned as a wholesale and retail general merchandise business and served the community as a retail establishment until 1907. From 1907 through the mid 1930's, the building functioned as a bank, initially the State Bank of Cotulla and later as the Cotulla State Bank. Remnants of Cotulla State Bank signage is still visible on the Front Street fagade. After the mid 1930's, the building returned to a retail establishment, first as a dry goods store and later as Western Auto Supply Company. Frank Architects is proposing that the 1907 period should be selected as the historical period of significance for this preservation/ restoration project. We are also recommending that the building be nominated for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (as a national landmark) at the local level of significance in the area of finance/ industry (Criterion A) and architecture (Criterion C).

II. Planning - Preservation Plan
Frank Architects is proposing that the John A. Kerr - Cotulla State Bank Building Project can be planned and divided into the following four categories:

A. Existing Conditions Survey

  • Improvement survey to be conducted by a licensed surveyor (owner provided).
  • Building Assessment including an architectural, structural and MEP assessment report.
  • Existing condition floor plans (basement, first floor, second floor), building elevations, vertical sections.

B. A Hazardous Materials Survey/ and if required Abatement (owner required). The Hazardous Materials Survey can run concurrent with the existing conditions survey.
C. Planning/ programming uses and analysis for the restored building (i.e. restaurant, commercial space, professional offices).
D. Building Preservation/ Restoration Plan

The John A. Kerr-Cotulla State Bank Project will identify the building preservation/ restoration plan in two phases, exterior restoration (Phase I) and interior restoration (Phase II). The work will also include accessibility modifications and structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades for the building as required.

Phase I - Exterior Restoration
The exterior restoration work includes but is not limited to site work including fagade stabilization (existing building fragments along Center Streets) accessibility modifications, site drainage, flat work, a landscape/ hardscape plan for the property (including a design around the cistern), roof drainage repair work, new gutter and downspout design, masonry/ stucco wall repair and cleaning of all exterior walls. Exterior doors and transoms will be replicated to match the original wood doors. Installation of fabricated replicated wood and windows and frames will also be integrated into the building.

Phase II - Interior Restoration
Interior restoration work includes but is not limited to the wood floor restoration, plaster restoration work (walls and ceilings) and a new paint restoration plan. The restoration of interior architectural features includes base and crown moldings, metal ceiling tile work and roof repair to stop the infiltration of water in the building. New mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems will be used to replace deficient systems. Fire alarm/ smoke detection systems will be installed. Existing bank millwork will be cleaned and protected.

III. Scope of Services
Architectural/ Engineering services: Frank Architects Inc. and our consultants will provide comprehensive services associated with Schematic, Design Development and Construction Document Phases.

Deliverables by Phase
1. Schematic Design phase documents:
a. Measured floor plans, elevations and roof plan: set of historic existing conditions.
b. Site plan noting all existing features and identifying new work.
c. Analysis of relevant programmatic information.
d. Narrative description of MEP systems/ equipment, proposed type and location. e. Status report on specialty consultants' work.
f. Proposed accessibility solutions.

2. Design Development Phase documents will include the following deliverables:
a. Plans, elevations and section drawings noted for specific work required.
b. Site plan noting all site work, grading, new equipment, hardscape and landscape features.
c. Completed window survey, draft recommendations.
d. Schematic mechanical/ electrical and plumbing proposals.
e. Reflected ceiling plans.
f. Roof plans and enlarged plan details.
g. Accessible designs for building entrance.
h. Paint analysis.

3. Construction Documents (60% complete, preliminary submittal) including:
a. Plans,elevations and building sections with notes, references and symbols.
b. Site plan indicating all site work with details of new construction.
c. Survey and schedule for window and door rehabilitation.
d. Proposed finishes and color schedule.
e. Proposed hardware schedule.
f. Proposed interior elevations.
g. Draft project specifications, selected light fixture cut sheets.
h. Preliminary opinion of probable cost.

4. Construction Documents (100% complete submittal) including:
a. Floor plans, elevation and building sections with notes, references symbols.
b.  Site plan indicating all site work with details of new construction.
c. Survey and schedule for window and door rehabilitation.
d. Finishes and hardware schedules.
e. Interior elevations.
f. Enlarged floor plans and construction details.
g. Complete project specifications and general requirements
h. Final opinion of probable cost.

Work products of Frank Architect's Inc. consultants
1. Engineering consultants will provide:
A. Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing engineering for systems design.
B. Structural engineering to support the restoration and building design.
C. Civil engineer to locate utilities and services, and provide positive drainage design.

2. Additional consultants will provide:
A. Historic paint analysis of interior finishes. B. Architectural Historian - will be required to consult with Frank Architects to prepare a National Register of Historic Places nomination to the Texas Historical Commission. A building must be listed in the National Register of Historical Places to be eligible for the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program.

3. Items outside the architect's scope to be contracted and performed by the property owner
A. Hazardous Material Survey B. Topographic Survey.
C. Geotechnical Testing.

IV Possible Grants and Funding Mechanisms
There are public agencies that currently have grants and tax credit programs available for the preservation of historic buildings. Many of these grants will require matching funds. Below is a partial list of natural, state and local sources that fund historical preservation projects:

National Level
National Trust for Historic Preservation
• National Trust Preservation Fund • Johnanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation

State Level
Texas Historical Commission

• Historic Tax Credit Program (Federal Program administered by the THC)

A federal tax credit worth 20 percent of the eligible rehabilitation costs is available for buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A building needs to be eligible for listing at the beginning of the rehabilitation project, but need not be officially listed until the tax credit is claimed by the owner.

The work undertaken as part of the project must meet The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. The tax credit is available only for income-producing properties. For example, office, retail, hotel and apartments are eligible. Owner- occupied residential properties are not eligible for the credit. The credit is also limited to buildings only; structures such as bridges and silos do not qualify.

The tax credit is designed for substantial rehabilitation projects, not small remodeling projects. The eligible project costs generally must exceed the value of the building itself (not including the land) at the beginning of the project. Most rehabilitation costs are eligible for the credit, such as structural work, building repairs, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, roof work and painting. Some specific costs are not eligible for the credit, such as acquisition, new additions, furniture and landscaping.

Local Level
Cotulla Main Street Program