Ambitious Renovation Project to Transform ‘One of the Most Important Buildings’ in West Chester

West Chester Spence Building
Images via Bill Rettew, MediaNews Group.
Scott Zukin at work on restoring West Chester's Spence Building.

Zukin Realty is preserving the Spence Building in West Chester, transforming it into 11 one- and two-bedroom apartments and a restaurant, writes Bill Rettew for the Daily Local News.

The realtor is restoring the structure’s sandstone block exterior. Master craftsmen are bringing them to the fore by removing the faux brick-face stucco façade that hid them.

They are also recreating a copper and slate mansard roof.

This revitalization of the original architecture, however, comes at a price. Stripping the new façade and restoring the early 1900s one has tripled the budget for this part of the project.

“We decided it was too important of a building to do a ‘facadectomy,’” Scott Zukin said, “We are really saving this building. We’ve always been committed to preserving history, and this is one the most important buildings in town.”

The building’s namesake, James Spence, was an entrepreneur and restauranteur who came from a family of slaves. He was famous for the quality of his food, and he was the first African-American in Chester County to own a liquor license.

Zukin hopes to finish the work on the building at the former site of Quaker Bakers, located at 29 East Gay Street, before December.

Read more about the project in the Daily Local News.

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