Buildings in 1700 block quietly being preserved

       Other than a new front roofline and subtle changes, the improvements to the properties between 1702 and 1710 W. Colorado Ave. might not be immediately noticed by passersby on the street.
       But attractiveness, though desirable, was not the main reason for the extensive work by property owner Mike Reeg over the past few months. “When we're done, it won't need any maintenance for 20 years,” said the Westside resident, who also owns Tri Star Masonry.
       Estimated at $300,000, the work involves a spectrum of upgrades, including - in various locations - new foundations, beams, walls, roofs, wiring, heat, foundation, doors, windows, reframed interiors and parking lot concrete.
       There also wasn't air conditioning before. Now there is.
       “Isn't this great?” said Linda-Marie Crespo, one of Reeg's business tenants. “He's a really good landlord.”
       Reeg first bought the 1702 site in 1996 for his wife Peg's hairdressing salon. He added 1704-1710 last year. Both properties are more than 50 years old.
       As work crews got started, they encountered problems such as trees growing out of foundations, abandoned wiring and gas lines, loose concrete blocks in walls and drainage taking water the wrong way. To solve the latter problem on the westernmost driveway, Reeg had to obtain city approval to lower the sidewalk.
       Reeg welcomed the challenges, never even considering starting over. “The structure was good” on the units, he said, and “new buildings don't have as much character.”
       The slanted, tiled roofline accents are intended to break up the block-like original look. The overall design goal is a 1940s-era, Spanish Colonial style.
       He looks around for ideas. He chose the arched windows with the “twisted-rope” effect for the 1710B unit after seeing windows like that near the Olympic Training Center, he said.
       When the work is done, he plans to give the set of storefronts a name: Mid Town on the Avenue. And, along with the anticipated respite from maintenance headaches, he said he hopes that when people drive by, they'll say, “I like the way that looks.”

Westside Pioneer article