“We are trying to put together a plan to utilize the upstairs of the building itself. We have about 12,000 square feet and we’re using about 4,500,” Blumberg said. “We’re looking at the upstairs to add an apartment and a mezzanine to be used as a banquet room.”
Blumberg is chairman of the downtown-oriented Business Improvement District (BID) this year. Early this year, BID targeted close to two dozen buildings downtown for improvements. I’m ecstatic with the work that has taken place downtown,” Blumberg said. “People have upgraded their buildings, just getting them up to code, the street looks totally different.”
Blumberg’s own project will entail a complete makeover of the front of the building, wrestoring the original 10 windows, which were completely covered, resurfacing the front and painting. “The building will look totally different,” Blumberg said. Rome’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved plans for the project.
Blumberg does not have a timetable for the work but said that his appeal of the assessment of his building is still at the forefront of his agenda. The Johnny’s building was assessed this year at $619,260, an increase of 54.8 percent from 2011.
His initial appeal of that assessment was denied and Blumberg indicated he planned to appeal the assessment to the Floyd Superior Court, however Blumberg indicated Monday that he is trying to work out a meeting with Chief Appraiser Bill McWhorter before filing with the court.
Blumberg said that after researching buildings in the 300 block of Broad Street, there are 11 buildings valued higher per square foot and 10 that have lower values.
He said he thinks he can show that with renovations, the building may be worth what they’re trying to assess it at. “Before that it’s in a much lower range,” Blumberg said.
The mezzanine area of the Johnny’s Pizza building includes approximately 2,500 square feet and would have a seating capacity of between 100 and 140.
The upstairs apartment would encompass approximately 3,000 square feet and is something that Blumberg said that he would most likely live in himself.
Blumberg does not have a specific timetable for the renovation work.