posted on June 19, 2012 09:39
The first recipients of the Town of Matthews Façade Grant, Thomas and Elizabeth Malvasia, owners of Planet Ballroom, are now open for business. They received $5,000 to improve the facade of the Orr Building located on Trade Street in Matthews. “We are appreciative of the Town’s help. Having the Town’s help made a significant difference in our restoration of the building,” said Thomas.
Thomas and Elizabeth, who also have Planet Ballroom locations on Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, had been looking for the right location in Matthews when the 189 North Trade Street Building became available. The building was built around 1900 by Thomas Jefferson Orr and is part of Matthews’ original downtown commercial district. It was originally divided by a central hallway and housed a grocery store on one side and the Matthews Post Office on the other. In 1996 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As Thomas and Elizabeth were looking for a site in downtown Matthews, the Town was establishing a Facade Grant Program that would aid business people who wanted to renovate or improve buildings in the downtown district. Thomas and Elizabeth applied for the grant and over the last year have worked closely with Town staff as they completely renovated the interior and exterior of the Orr Building. Their business specializes in club, competitive and social ballroom dance classes and the building is perfect for this use.
“We wanted to create a unique dynamic for people who come to our dance studio. The overall ambience (lighting, color, décor) of this building helps us create that 1920s atmosphere that we want for our studio. We gave great care and attention to this building in order to restore it to its historic classy sophisticated self,” Thomas said.
Over the years the building had been used for various purposes. When the Malvasias’ purchased it the building had mostly recently been used as office space. The Orr Building was gutted and the original brick walls, ceilings, and wood floors have been restored.
The $5,000 Facade Grant from the Town has been used to restore the windows of the building to their formal grandeur as well as the exterior awning, recessed entry, cornice repair and repair of the exterior of the building. “We have spent a significant amount to restore the building and the $5,000 grant was definitely a huge help. I am not sure we would have been able to complete the façade work without the grant,” Thomas continued.
Classes are now underway at Planet Ballroom for teens, singles and adults. If you would like to sign up for a class or personal lesson visit planetballroom.com or call 704-299-4003.
If you would like to learn more about the Town’s Facade Grant contact Jay Camp, at 704-847-4411, ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.