Nestled in the heart of Evansville, the well-known Main Street structure known as the Curtis Building has been a Downtown staple since it was built more than a century ago. The 75,900-square-foot building was constructed in 1908 as a wholesale grocery warehouse for Parsons & Scoville Co. (commonly referred to as Pasco), and was bought by Ed Curtis — an entrepreneurial St. Louis-based businessman and owner of several Evansville properties — in 1995, becoming office space for everything from an urban radio station to insurance companies to the American Association of Retired Persons. As of September of this year, ownership switched hands a third time to Evansville native Stacy Stevens, broker/owner of Landmark Realty & Development, who plans to bring the building into the 21st century.
Originally built with five floors, the owners of the Pasco warehouse added a sixth floor to make room for coffee-packing equipment. Today, that floor supports an apartment in one corner, while the rest of the building undergoes current renovations to accommodate Landmark Realty, previously located on Vann Avenue near the Lloyd Expressway.
When Curtis bought the warehouse 17 years ago, he immediately began his own massive renovations, spending roughly $1.5 million on the first two floors alone. Under his guidance, the structure continued to include the large, open areas it is known for while incorporating modern office spaces — and a prominent “Curtis Building” neon sign visible from the Lloyd Expressway.
Despite the upgrades, Curtis wanted to remain true to the history of the warehouse. He put an old freight scale in the lobby for visitors to weigh themselves and kept the high ceilings, brick walls, and 12-inch thick cement floors that give the building its character. He also incorporated a train theme throughout the interior, since much of Pasco’s shipments arrived via rail, and brought in a small red caboose that he transformed into a snack bar known today as QP’s Carryout. “It’s the best kept dining secret in Evansville,” says Stevens. Additions like these were welcome changes, and Stevens hopes to bring her own set of improvements, all the while preserving “the integrity of the building’s character.”
Although planning on preserving most of these nods to history, Stevens’ renovations include new carpet, improved energy efficiency (she will be forming plans with the help of Energizing Indiana), and a “spiffed up” exterior, which may involve a new sign. “I’m excited about bringing the building into the 21st century,” she says.
In addition to the physical changes, the building will take on the new name of Landmark Center (“Because we need another center Downtown,” Stevens jokes), which is expected to officially open in the spring of next year.
The newly named Landmark Center is located at 915 Main St. For more information on Landmark Realty & Development, Inc., call 812-474-9814 or visit www.landmarkrealtyinc.com. To learn more about QP’s Carryout, call 812-319-7816.