Published On: Thu, May 30th, 2013

Local business plans big expansion project

LAUREL — The owners of two historic buildings, which set side by side in downtown Laurel hope to restore one of the buildings and rescue as much of the second building as possible.

Selah, LLC purchased the buildings, which had housed Morten Hardware, with the plan to expand their current business – the Bears’ Den.

The wood frame building would be restored. Portions of the brick building, which have fallen into disrepair, would be salvaged.

“We bought the Morten Hardware building with the plan to restore it. Our intention  was to open the wall between the Bears Den and the wood frame building in order to create a larger game room. We could then have a larger space for people to sit down and eat,” said Julia Shear, who is one of the owners. “Once the seating area is expanded the kitchen can also be enlarged.”

The location of the brick building would be used for an outdoor eating area.

The roof on the brick building would be taken down but portions of the brick side walls would be maintained. A fire pit would be added along with a water feature which would enhance the outdoor eating area.

“We won’t be able to keep the original front facade but we will keep part of the walls and we will be utilizing the old bricks,” Shear said. “We are hoping to salvage the brick wall in the back of the building along with an arched window.”

The area will be a great place that can be utilized for community events.

At one time there were stained glass windows, which faced the street, on the second floor of the wood frame building.

The owners are looking at restoring some of the early features of the building by having stained glass windows installed.

The building will also be painted in colors appropriate for the building’s era.

“We want to stop the deterioration and enhance the historical value of the buildings. As much as possible we want to restore the buildings to their former glory,” Shear said.

The Bears Den currently has a total of nine employees; three full-time and six part-time.

Employment opportunities will increase when the construction is complete

Selah, LLC has been working with the Laurel Economic Development, the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Laurel City Council according to Shear.

The owners hope to complete the construction work in September of this year.