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Downtown fabric shop undertakes $500k renovation


Downtown Lawrence really is an eclectic place. There are a whole bunch of us that go downtown to tie one on. But there's also a lot of people who go downtown to sew one on. And that second group, it appears, is poised to grow.

Work is underway at Sarah's Fabrics, 925 Massachusetts St., to convert the second story of the old building into a sewing center and meeting space.

"This has been a decades old thing that I've wanted to do, and I'm finally going to finish it," Sarah Fayman, the owner of the business and the building, told me recently.

Fayman said the second-story space will have room for about 30 people sewing. Sarah's Fabrics regularly will host a variety of classes in the space. Plus, Fayman said she plans to rent the space to businesses or people looking for a quality location for meetings or gatherings.

"It is a beautiful building," Fayman said. "We're going to highlight the clerestory windows that are original to the building. There will be a lot of wonderful natural light, and a huge hallway that will be great for gallery space."

Sarah's Fabrics, as those of you who go downtown to sew one on already know, is a downtown institution. It's celebrating its 40th year, Fayman told me. During that time, Fayman has done her share of building renovation. It has been a little more than 10 years since Fayman completely remodeled the ground floor, including returning the facade of the building to a more historically accurate look.

This remodeling project is one of the larger ones underway downtown. The city has issued a permit for $512,000 worth of construction at the site. One reason for the cost is that Fayman is installing an elevator.

"It wasn't going to be very convenient for seamstresses to carry boxes and boxes of fabric up the stairs," Fayman said.

The classroom space won't take up the entire second floor of the building. Fayman said a little less than half the space will serve as the new offices for the Clark/Huesemann architecture firm. If you are not familiar with that company, it is led by Lawrence architects Steve Clark and Jane Huesemann. They previously were longtime architects with Lawrence-based Gould Evans, and they are perhaps best known for a lot of the design work they did with Gould Evans on the Lawrence Public Library expansion before leaving to start their own firm.

Fayman hopes to have the second-floor renovation completed by early spring. Stay tuned for more information about specific classes the store will be offering.

In other news and notes from around town:

• While we're on the subject of renovations, the empty space next to Starbucks on West Sixth Street now has a tenant. The national barbershop chain Sport Clips has pulled a building permit to do about $70,000 worth of work at 4701 Bauer Farm Drive. Lawrence has a Sport Clips at 3140 Iowa St., next to Jason's Deli.


Jean Robart 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Chad, who does your proofreading? There ARE a group of us...???

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