"What was here before, Freeman's Restaurant ... there were probably five layers on the walls. It was pretty unhealthy. We pulled the ceilings down. There was probably an inch of filth. We want to get it clean, for health. I think before that wasn't the case."
He doesn't plan to cover the bricks. "We kind of like the industrial look, exposed ductwork, no dropped ceilings.
"One thing we're doing is [aiming at] historical integrity." Using about 30 different router bits, he plans to carve out replica wooden trim. I found some of the old pieces of trim and I have some from across the street."
He is completely rebuilding the exterior following a drawing by Mike Gioulis, a designer who works with Main Street groups across the state.
"When we took the old one down we found kind of a '70s façade. Behind that was an old glass transom."
Bullock plans to install transom windows above the doorways, along with plate glass windows and handmade door with still more windows. He obtained a façade grant from West Side Main Street, which will match 50 percent of his expenses up to $5,000. He used a similar grant on the other half of the building.
"That's a great program," he said. He figures he spent about $12,000 on the earlier façade.
Stephanie Johnson, director of the Main Street program, says there is more money available in the façade grant program. "We encourage other business owners to apply, even if they're renting. Any business on Washington Street is eligible."
Bullock, who grew up on the West Side, said the Main Street program is starting to have an impact.
"The West Side is undergoing a renaissance in the last seven years. I think it gets a bad rap. It's changing. You're in walking distance of the mall, the Civic Center."
The blue tarp will soon be coming down, possibly within two weeks, Bullock said.
"The inside will take longer. As soon as that's done, we're ready to have someone come in. We'd like to get at least $1,000 a month, depending on how the build-out is done. We can do it, or they can hire their own contractor. We're flexible."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.