Palestine building project becomes award finalist
The Link-Bratton project has been named a finalists for the 2021 President’s Awards Program.
Nominated in the design category for best rehabilitation/restoration/renovation, the Link-Bratton project has brought new opportunities for downtown living, providing a prime example of giving an old building new life and purpose.
The Link-Bratton Building has served the community of Palestine since 1901 and has a storied history of professional tenants in addition to housing the beloved Bratton Drug Store.
When Kevin and Nicole Fuhr took on this project in 2020, their vision was to fully maximize the potential for this historic building creating five luxury apartments.
Missionaries, the Fuhrs found themselves in Palestine when the borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a background in real estate and construction, Kevin decided to purchase the Link-Bratton Building and develop apartment spaces on the second floor.
“I was really surprised to find a building with this type of potential, in the condition it was in at such an affordable rate, available,” Kevin said. “You often hear a lot of bad stuff about departments in the city, but Palestine’s Planning and Zoning staff were really helpful. I really can’t say enough good things about them.”
In a one-year time frame, the Fuhrs completed the renovations. The second floor now features five apartments and one office space, all of which are currently occupied. Kevin said all materials for the project were purchased locally.
“It was a good project for our family, for the community and the downtown area,” Kevin said.
The Fuhrs also purchased the Denby Building and renovated it in three months for $100,000. It is now serving as a rental event space called The Historic Palestine Event Center.
The President’s Awards Program, sponsored by the Texas Downtown Association, has recognized outstanding projects, places and people of Texas downtowns for over 30 years.
The Link-Bratton project is one of 107 entries submitted in eleven different categories from communities across the state. Design and achievement categories were judged by separate panels.
TDA was established in 1985 to connect and serve communities that are committed to downtown vitality. The organization is an independent, statewide nonprofit representing cities and towns of all sizes, economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, local associations, small businesses and individuals.
The Link-Bratton project was listed on the Palestine Main Street’s Imagine the Possibilities Tour in 2020.
“Having the opportunity to watch the development of this project has been an exciting treat,” said Cori Conrad, Main Street coordinator. “I hope this project inspires others to see the value and potential of our old buildings.”
All finalists are automatically eligible for the People's Choice Awards which are selected by the public. Images will be uploaded to Facebook. Colleagues, community members and fans will vote by reacting to the images between noon on Oct. 18 and 5 p.m. Oct. 22. No apps to download or registrations required, just daily votes or comments on one of the photos uploaded to the page.
Winners will be announced on Nov. 4 at the President’s Awards Gala, held in conjunction with the 2021 Texas Downtown Conference scheduled for Nov. 3 through Nov. 5 in Denton.
For more information about the President’s Awards, the Texas Downtown Conference or other programs of the Texas Downtown Association, please visit www.texasdowntown.org.