The building, built in 1907, was originally a multi-tenant, mixed-use commercial building, which is what it will again become. The style of building is based on the Galleria in Milan, Italy, which had a glass roof over two streets to keep the shoppers dry.
“That was the forerunner of the modern-day shopping mall, said current owner and re-designer of the Arcade Mike Manous. “There are three buildings like this in Tennessee, as far as we can tell. One is in Cookeville, which I don’t believe has been restored, and of course, the well-known one in downtown Nashville.
Manous with Manous Design and Hal Bone with Bone Enterprises own M.B. Lebanon Properties.
Both men believe The Historic Arcade will give a new purpose to the historic place in Wilson County.
“We believe the renovations to such a historic place will preserve it for years to come and enable this building to serve in a new capacity,” Manous said. “This will allow for Wilson County to house more business in our retail and restaurant space. The renovations also give Wilson County a place to hold events for special occasions and a meeting space to serve our community and our region.
“This location will give Wilson County a competitive edge on other historic locations that offer retail, event and meeting space. We hope to help draw many patrons to our quaint and historic downtown district. We are proud to be part of the revitalization of the historic square in Lebanon. The building was named the Arcade to describe its series of arches along its roofline.”
Because Manous had no drawings of the original interior of the Historic Arcade, he used markings on the floors and other spaces to note where the original walls once stood.
“This brings it back to the 1907 configuration,” he said. “The building is also ADA-compliant with an elevator, restrooms and ingress and egress. We received our certificate of occupancy last week.”
The Historic Arcade was part of the center of the community life in Lebanon from 1907 to 1950s. Manous said the meeting space in the Arcade, to be known as Venue 142 – named after the address at 142 Public Square – has seen well-known dignitaries such as Gen. George Patton and various governors and senators speak before crowds in the space.
“At the time it was popular. It was the largest meeting or event space other than Baird Chapel,” Manous said.
Venue 142 will seat 120 in a banquet-style setting and 150 in a lecture-style setting, Manous said.
“It can be used for business meetings, retreats, training sessions, small weddings, holiday parties, sports events and more,” Manous said. “We’re also working with the chamber and want to work with civic groups such as the Kiwanis, Rotary and the Lions clubs to meet here.”
The space includes free WiFi, a 70-inch flat-screen television, another flat-screen for overhead projection, a pull-down screen and more. There are two-rooms, known as the Green Room and the Phoenix Room, which can be used for brides and grooms to get ready; for artists to relax before and after performances and for a staging area.
There is a catering kitchen available and a dumb waiter, which connects to the restaurant space below.
Art on the wall is from Jerry and Phyllis McCullough, who owned the McCullough Art store in the Arcade for years. The art will be on hand as a permanent display.
“The city has done a great job restoring the square,” Manous said. “This building compliments that work. The square now has the ‘wow’ factor. We have four restaurants from Nashville who are looking at leasing our restaurant space. These are restaurants, which are used to Second Avenue and Broadway in downtown Nashville. They see character on the square.”
He said the space is perfect for businesses, including a photography studio, lawyer or medical office or even a living space.
“Lebanon allows for second-story living with the sprinkler systems,” Manous said.
There are also 175 parking spaces within a block of the building, he said.
M.B. Lebanon Properties will hold an open house May 17 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Historic Arcade.
Contact Penny Benton at 615-218-9923 with any questions or for a tour of the property.