​​​​How To Keep The History: Renovating Historical Buildings in Texas

Texas is rich with history, and our state is proud to honor this by preserving numerous historical monuments, sites, and buildings. There are so many historical sites that your next building location may, in fact, be at one. Renovating these sites can be hard because you want to update the area but not take away its history. S. Watts Group is familiar with renovating historical buildings from permitting to breaking ground on restoration.

Before continuing forward with moving into a historical building, make sure you understand the process involved with renovating sites in Texas.

Getting a Permit

In our experience, once finding a historical building to restore or renovate, contractors must first go through a rigorous process to get a permit. The permit application process is through a federally-run program called the National Register of Historic Places. This program will teach you about the story of the building so you can learn its historical importance. This may give you an idea of how you want to renovate it and how to ensure the building’s origins are maintained.

These restoration projects must meet certain local codes pertaining to safety, materials, and building standards. Since it’s an older building, it may not be built to the standards of today’s structures. In that case, renovations will have to meet certain requirements like accessibility, fire, and safety. We cannot cover all the little regulations in-depth here, but talking to the State Historic Preservation Offices will give you a better understanding of the codes you must follow, depending on the historic site and location.

Choose the Right Treatment

When it comes to getting the work done, some tough choices have to be made. You have to decide how much of the property you want to fix or change. There are five categories of work on a historical building: preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and moving. Deciding which of these categories is best for you depends on the damage the building has sustained and your goal for the end of the project.

Categories of Historic Building Work:

  • Preservation: Involves protecting and conserving the history of the building as it has been used in the past.
  • Restoration: Focuses on returning a historic building to the way it was in a certain time period.
  • Rehabilitation: Making the proper repairs and alterations to keep the building functioning.
  • Adaptive Reuse: Saving a historic site by modifying its original purpose.
  • Move: Physically move the building to a new location to save it.

Historical building restorations have one main goal: to preserve the beauty and history of the site. The rule of thumb is always to try to repair the issue before replacing it. This keeps the original look and beauty of the building. Newer buildings don’t have the same architecture as these historical sites, so make sure you preserve as much of the original structure as possible.

S. Watts Group Historical Restoration Experience 

In October 2021, Goodfolks opened its doors to its first customers after the historic M.B. Lockett Building underwent major renovations. The 130-year-old building quickly became one of the most challenging and rewarding projects S Watts Group has completed.

“Overcoming these challenges is a clear demonstration of our teamwork and dedication to presenting high-end results as we meet client expectations. Our team worked incredibly hard and that shows in the results. This project  was a wonderful one to be apart of and is truly a show stopper.”

Goodfolks in Historic Georgetown

While challenging at times, renovations of the M.B. Lockett Building resulted in a beautiful, custom-designed restaurant space. Through collaboration, the S Watts Group team came together with the architectural team, the engineers, and the owners to ensure the building’s origins remained while reinforcing the structure’s integrity and productivity in the 21st century. 

Historic building restoration is a technical process that requires a lot of time and energy. But renovating historic Texas buildings can bring new life and purpose. Here at S. Watts Group, our team has the expertise to guide you every step of the way. We know tackling a project at a historic Texas building may seem like a daunting process. That’s why we use our years of experience on other historic restoration projects, to help you every step of the way. From initial planning to breaking ground on construction we’ll be there to make sure everything goes smoothly. Connect with us today!



Social Media

Our Services

Recent News