The Urban Revitalization Agency is considering a $92,000 loan request for repairs and shoring up outstanding debt for the historic Dumas Brothel on East Mercury Street.
The URA’s board of directors tabled the request at its recent meeting because more information is wanted, but will consider it again soon, Butte-Silver Bow Community Development Director Karen Byrnes said Tuesday.
Also, the board approved an $8,936 grant to Jeff Francis for rehabilitation of the vacant three-story building at 129 N. Main St. The street-level floor most recently housed Curley’s Shoe Boutique, which moved to the Butte Plaza Mall. Francis is having the roof replaced, among other things, at a projected cost of $35,745.
“It’s a great building,” Byrnes said. “They’re going to work on getting the entire entrance cleaned up and refurbished.”
Michael Piche and Travis Eskelsen of Butte bought the Dumas Brothel in 2012 with plans of improving the beleaguered building in the middle of Butte’s former red light district, according to previous news stories.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operates as a museum, but it had slipped into disrepair and had significant structural problems.
The Dumas was built in 1890 for use as a brothel — one of the few buildings still standing that was designed with that purpose in mind.
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When Piche and Eskelsen purchased the building, its property taxes had not been paid for three years and the property was in danger of reverting to the county or another buyer who could have decided to tear it down.
Piche, at the time they bought it, said they did not have a lot of money but would do what was necessary to preserve the 42-room building.
“This place deserves respect and recognition,” he said at the time.
Total cost of the project is $127,000, which includes consolidation of outstanding debt and masonry work. Piche and Eskelsen are seeking the $92,000 URA loan and a grant of $8,750.
“It’s open on a limited basis now for tours and it’s got so much history,” Byrnes said.
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