Inside Springfield's Paul Davis Restorations

December 3, 2012 10 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Bill Hoff of shares a behind the scenes look at Paul Davis Restorations' move into the Springfield Warehouse District's historic Chevrolet Parts Depot. Dating back to 1929 and designed by famed industrial architect Albert Kahn, this building was used by the Chevrolet Motor Company as a parts warehouse from 1929 to 1958.

A Very Big Restoration

It was time to move.

Mike Mumford’s successful Paul Davis Restoration franchise was outgrowing its space, taking up several separate buildings in suburban Mandarin. Made of metal, the separate buildings were also susceptible to hurricanes, and the location didn’t provide easy access to his coverage area.

So, Mike started looking for bigger spaces, in central location in NE Florida, and one that could take a beating. Hmmm . . . .  Any ideas?

“My wife & I live 9 blocks away, so I had my eye on it for several years”, Mike confessed, about the massive red brick warehouse at 2111 N. Liberty Street, designed by noted architect Albert Khan. Built in 1929, the warehouse is one of many that make up the Springfield warehouse district, just North of the more recognized historic district.

“We did our homework on possible locations. We could’ve bought a non-descript property on Baymeadows Road that needed a little work, or do something special with a building with great character here, make it our own, and that fit all our search criteria. Same cost. That’s how much of a value property is here. Plus, I can walk to work now. A perk.”

Speaking of cost, the project totaled about $1.6 million. And speaking of numbers, the warehouse is 40,000 sq feet total, housing executive office space, a fleet of vehicles, processing (aka cleaning) space, display areas, and plenty of storage - that’s just the 1st floor. The unfinished 2nd floor is awaiting purposing.

A few more interesting tidbits about the newly restored warehouse:

- The warehouse was originally built (in 1929) as a Chevrolet automobile parts distribution center, with rail bringing parts in, and trucks shipping parts out. Since that time, the space has been used as a printing shop, plastic recycling center, and as a speculative property investment, among other things.

- Paul Davis Restoration has 35 employees on site, some of which are on-call and come & go at all hours of the night.

- There are a handful of exact replicas of this warehouse throughout the country, including Los Angeles and Detroit, where Albert Khan & Associates, the architect’s original firm, still operates today.

- The warehouse has a freshwater well inside it's walls, which is now capped and located in Mike’s office under a rug.

“We closed on the building in the Summer of 2011, and we are just finishing up the move in now. It suffered from a leaky roof and needed a complete gutting. But the bones were good, which made the project doable. The slab was in good condition, the steel framework was fine, and the brick walls are solid. These are 100% brick walls, not hollow or veneer,” Mike explained, “It can survive almost anything, including any hurricane we may suffer.”

Paul Davis Restoration, Inc is a national clean up & restoration franchise specializing in water, mold, and fire damage. Paul Davis started the company in Central Florida in 1966, and The Mumford’s purchased the Northeast Florida franchise from Paul Davis himself in 1999.

“We carefully and thoughtfully clean up and restore properties and personal items. Imagine a fire or flood in a home, where laptops, a quilt with sentimental value, and a bedroom suite is damaged. In addition to restoring and rebuilding the actual house, we also take apart, dry, and rebuild the laptops, specialty wash the quilt, and wipe down and clean the furniture. We do it all”, Mike described.

As kismet would have it, a restoration company saving and restoring an old building isn’t lost on The Mumford’s and Paul Davis Restoration.

“The building fit what we do. It spoke to making something damaged new again, and it spoke to restoration. The building was returned to its original purpose: office & warehouse space. It’s been here almost 100 years, and with the work that’s been done, it’ll be here for 100 more years.”

Read more about this project in the Jacksonville Daily Record.

And find Before & After photos, roof top views, and an extensive photo tour (with captions) in the MySpringfield Photo Gallery.

Article by Bill Hoff at