EVANSVILLE, Indiana — The yearslong restoration of Evansville's former Greyhound bus terminal is nearing completion, although its future use remains unsettled.
Owner Indiana Landmarks has started formally marketing the building in recent days, although it has been fielding casual inquiries for several months.
The agency's only requirement of potential tenants is that the former bus station be accessible to all.
"That building has such a connection to Evansville," Stewart Sebree, Southwest Field Office director for Indiana Landmarks, told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/1yrULgV ). "Thousands of people used that building to go to and from Evansville when it was a bus station, and we want to keep it a public building so people can still visit it and enjoy it in the future."
The Evansville Redevelopment Commission in March approved an electrical easement for Indiana Landmarks, enabling the placement of underground cables. With the easement in hand, "we can proceed with getting electrical service to the signage and the rest of the building," Sebree said. "Hopefully if things as go as planned, we'll have some sort of formal lighting of the Greyhound."
Architectural Renovators and Evansville Ornamental Ironworks, both owned by Mike Martin of Evansville, are doing panel-by-panel finishing on the former bus station's exterior. The building has 1,600 to 1,700 steel panels, and Martin said roughly 120 still must be reinstalled.
The panels had been finished with porcelain enamel, but that is being blasted off and replaced with a powder coating. Although the material is different, the panels still will be the same shade of blue that they were when the station opened in 1938.
Martin said the process of finishing each panel has been tedious.
"As they sand blast these panels, once the porcelain is removed, we find some bad areas in the metal so we have to get those repairs done before we get them powder coated," Martin said. "Once you remove the panels, you don't notice the damage until the porcelain is blasted off."
Doing a thorough job is important, Martin said, because "we don't want to have to do this again for a long time."
City officials have said they want the Greyhound building at Third and Sycamore streets to be a focal point in a revived Downtown. Restaurants and offices have been frequently cited as potential uses; it's been noted that the summer Farmers Market takes place in an adjacent green space.
Greyhound moved out of the building in 2007.
Martin said the Greyhound project is meticulous, but it has been well-worth the effort. "It's been an honor to be a part of this project and we've had a great group of subcontractors,"
Like Indiana Landmarks, Martin said his wish for the former bus station is some type of use that "supports our Downtown."
Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com