Century-old Hartman Hardware building in downtown Shawnee to get ‘new’ old look

The Shawnee Planning Commission has approved facade changes to the downtown building that houses Hartman Hardware, Zimmerman Law and Shawnee Shoe Repair and Tayloring. The new look is intended to resemble the way downtown looked a hundred years ago. Image courtesy Box Real Estate Development.

Box Real Estate Development, the developer who just purchased the Hartman Hardware building and adjacent properties in downtown Shawnee, is planning to restore and revise the facade to the century-old structure.

The Shawnee Planning Commission on Monday voted 10-0 to approve the facade revisions, which include adding a rooftop patio and designs that resemble the original design of the building. Commissioner Bruce Bienhoff was absent.

Russell Pearson, owner of Box Real Estate Development, said the rooftop patio will be located above the current Hartman Hardware business, which he plans to convert into a restaurant and bar space.

Box Real Estate plans to restore the facade of the building that’s currently home to Hartman Hardware, Zimmerman Law and Shawnee Shoe Repair and Tayloring to resemble the way it looked a hundred years ago. Pearson said the modifications take inspiration from old photographs of the building that create the “new” old look.

“This building is going to set the tone.”

A portion of the building has been home to Hartman Hardware for the past 74 years. The business owners, Lisa and Mike Unterreiner, plan to retire, close the business and move out of state.

“It’s a sad chapter; nobody who’s been around Shawnee for a long time wanted to see Hartman not be here, but we also knew that was probably going to happen,” said Commissioner Kathy Peterson. “I think Mr. Pearson understands the stewardship that he has there. He’s got great bones to start with. I’m anxious to see where this goes.”

Box Real Estate Development plans to convert the second story rooftop of the Hartman Hardware store into an outdoor patio. The business will turn into a restaurant/bar use in the future. Above, an undated photo of Hartman Hardware.

Pearson said the second floor of the exterior of the west side of the building facing Nieman Road will remain largely the same, although they plan to replace windows with plans to replicate the historical windows from the original building.

The primary facade modifications to the western building at 11022 Johnson Drive include:

  • Creating a recessed entry at the southwest corner of the ground floor with white columnar framing, a new entry door and a transom window above
  • Adding a grey projecting flat metal canopy above the new entry
  • Adding a grey metal storefront header between the ground floor and second floor
  • Adding two new storefront windows on the west facade
  • Repairing/replacing the second-floor windows to original working condition

Facade modifications to the south-facing building at 11018 Johnson Drive include:

  • Replacing the blue fabric awning with a similarly shaped and sized awning
  • Building a new dark bronze aluminum storefront system on the ground floor of the single-story portion
  • Replacing the beige colored siding on the second floor facade to match the building’s original white color
  • Adding the outdoor patio entry door with white accent trim
  • Possible stretched fabric awnings (also called shade sails) above the rooftop patio area
  • Pearson said he plans to keep the Hartman Hardware mural on the east side of the building, but a future tenant has the option to paint over it.

Commissioner Peterson had the most comments about the project. She cautioned the developer to create clearer communication for future tenants on expectations for signage, as only one sign per business is permitted downtown. She also shared her high expectations for the project.

“Mr. Pearson, this is kind of like an anchor store; it is the character and the heartbeat of downtown,” Peterson said. “I’m not disrespecting any other businesses that are down here, but what happens with this building is going to set the tone. I’m just going to say I’m going to be watching. So far I like what I see, but I just wanted to throw that into the mix, so thank you for coming in. I look forward to see what you’ve got going.”