Downtown building renovated by new owner

Published 8:16 pm Saturday, July 9, 2016

After a destructive fire and years of neglect, one downtown building is getting a much needed face lift.

The former El Rio Mexican Restaurant, 1415 Washington St., is already in the beginning the stages of being renovated just weeks after Daryl Hollingsworth, who co-owns the Wine House, Ware House Apartments, The Mad Baker and other properties downtown, purchased the property.

“It’s right across from the Ware House, and I’ve had to look at it everyday. I finally got tired of looking it,” he said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The building was badly damaged in a 2013 fire that started on its second story, leaving the interior charred and exposed to the elements. Hollingsworth said he has been attempting to purchase the property for two years, but difficulties from an absentee owner slowed the process.

“I’m glad to finally be able to get renovation started,” he said, noting that his plan is to restore the building so it looks like the mural it can be found in on Catfish Row. “I consider myself to be breathing new life into these buildings. It’s a blending of the old with the new.”

Hollingsworth said he hopes to accomplish that blend by keeping the historic aspects of the building’s outside architecture while updating the interiors of the four or eight apartments he hopes to build on its upper floor, depending on what architects say is possible once the building is cleaned and he knows a little more about the building’s bones.

“Once it’s clean, the major hurdle has been crossed,” he said. “Every time it rained, water came out the front door.”

Hollingsworth said he is taking on the restoration process himself with a five-person crew.

So far they have been removing rubble and remnants of the building’s former lives, including the restaurant and a barber shop.

“I’m a hands-on guy,” he said. “I like to work out the architectural details myself.”

It’s too early in the project to know a set budget for the renovation, Hollingsworth said, or what will happen to the buildings first floor—though he said he’s envision possible commercial space.

“We’ve filled quite a few (dumpsters), and there’s quite a few more to go,” he said.

Holligsworth said the purchase is a step toward reaching  his goal of having 2,000 people living in the downtown historic district.