SALINAS – An impressive art deco building in downtown Salinas once housed banking operations, but renovations to the 90-year-old structure are now complete, bringing large-scale residential apartments to downtown and more life to the 100 300 blocks from Old Town.

Brad Slama purchased the historic six-story building at 301 Main St. six years ago for $4.5 million and has since poured his energy into providing living space on the upper floors while creating room for a gathering place in the form of a restaurant. / bar on the first floor.

“I believe more people living downtown will help the vibrancy project move forward,” Slama said, referring to the plan approved by Salinas City Council and the Monterey County Board of Supervisors in 2015, which has the stated goal of preserving Salinas’ connection to history, while creating a mix of residences, businesses, civic institutions, recreation and culture in a safe and vibrant environment.

“Renting is going well, … people will start moving November 1,” said Audrey Wardwell, broker and owner of 36 North Properties. “We have six rentals and 20 applications so far in … and excellent feedback on screenings.”

There are five floors of living space that were created after demolition and gutting for residential units. Each of the 50 Deluxe Studios has a clean, modern design and offers different floor plans, ranging from 350 square feet to 550 square feet. Units have multiple windows capitalizing on city views, and most with the Gabilan or Santa Lucia Mountains in view from high-ceilinged rooms. Bathrooms have custom walk-in showers using tile and Moen shower systems, as well as LED-lit vanity mirrors. Kitchens include smart stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, and hardwood floors cover every space.

There are laundry rooms on each floor that use a phone app to operate washers and dryers, elevators, on-site management, 24-hour locked private entrances with secure entry for tenants and guests, and parking . Basement storage units are available at an additional cost.

Units are priced from $1,650 to $2,200, with utilities – electricity, water, waste – included.

Slama retained the art deco design elements that give the building character on the exterior facade and resident entrances to the side and rear, and in what is now Alvarado on Main on the first floor.

“I told Alvarado (Street Brewery) I wanted them here,” Slama said. “I knew they had a cult.”

The brewery restaurant will officially open on Nov. 18, he said.

Entering the main entrance at 301 Main St. in the dining room, one passes through gilded doors topped with soaring eagles. The place is the offshoot of Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey. Alvarado on Main incorporates original design elements from nearly a century ago into its interior, including existing wall treatments and reliefs, to replicate the chandeliers found in a small foyer and incorporate them into the larger living system. lighting of the brasserie restaurant. The space has high ceilings, a huge bar, cabins and lounges. A mezzanine provides more space for events or additional seating, and the restaurant’s kitchen has transformed the former bank vault into work and storage space.

Brad Slama sits inside one of the studios overlooking the Santa Lucia Mountains and downtown Salinas. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)

Slama said he learned a lot from his father when he was a student at Salinas High School, he would join him at work. His first taste of converting space into residential units came when he helped create 10 third-floor apartments above the old Penny Farthing when he was 18. After high school, he worked for an electrical company and started flipping houses on his own. , and later converted spaces into apartments in Monterey and Salinas.

“The opportunity presented itself,” Slama said of his foray into buying the bank building and converting it into apartments. He believes in taking existing structures and infill materials to provide housing instead of taking farmland to build new homes.

“Most want to build traditional developments, but the market I work in is very niche” and it takes some confidence to do that, Slama said. “You need to have trust and faith in city councils and planning commissions to make the right decisions.”

He said the 301 Main Street project was “more a labor of love than a job for profit” to him.

Now that its downtown Salinas project has reached that stage, Slama says it will next focus on its Garden Road developments in Monterey.

“I have three right now and I’m looking at two more,” said Slama, who added that current projects could produce 405 new living units for Monterey.

  • The first floor of 301 Main Street in downtown Salinas...

    The first floor of 301 Main Street in downtown Salinas will house Alvarado on Main. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)

  • The brasserie restaurant.on the first floor of 301 Main Street...

    The Brewery Restaurant.on the first floor of 301 Main Street incorporates original design elements from nearly a century ago into its interior, including existing wall treatments and reliefs, to replicate the chandeliers found in a small foyer and incorporate them into the larger bedroom lighting system. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)

  • Studios at 301 Main Street vary in size...

    Studios at 301 Main Street range in size from 350 square feet to 550 square feet. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)

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