Local Realtor Mike Tharasena has a vision and says he wants to do his part to help the uptown revitalization efforts. However, many people are unable to see beyond the circa 1900 buildings fronting the street.
Dubbed 23rd Street Courts, Tharasena purchased 10 buildings from 711-733 NW 23 St., which range from 1,600 to 2,000 square feet, and property from long-time owner and friend Kip Curtis for $350,000, according to the country assessor’s office.
It was while the realtor was showing the property to a prospective buyer from California that Tharasena first realized its potential and decided to buy it himself with plans to create a courtyard concept.
“I’ve always liked the area,” Tharasena said. “I own a lot of the properties around the neighborhoods, and I love to buy properties and restore them – I’ve always been fascinated by that. Plus, there aren’t many courtyards in the city.”
Tharasena discussed his plans for the buildings with his son Marvin who equated the area to “a diamond in the rough.”
“I knew there was great potential for it,” Marvin Tharasena said.
Tharasena retained architect Brian Fitzsimmons of Studio F who helped with design plans for the million-dollar project. Previous occupants of the buildings include Bohemian Spirit, Vintage Plus and Serenity Palace, among others.
“When Mike (Tharasena) bought the lots, it had three zones on it,” Fitzsimmons explained. “It was urban design, neighborhood conservation and it was the Paseo, so everything was overlapped. It was kind of like three review processes, and we cleaned it all up so it’s all now under urban design’s jurisdiction.”
Fitzsimmons and Tharasena said their overall goal is to preserve the old buildings while making them more commercially viable by renovating the properties to possibly include a sidewalk caf