German Village Gazette

Emporium planned for Thurman Avenue


Rebecca Milnes is in the midst of transforming a German Village property with a rich history and - she hopes - a lot of potential.

Milnes is redeveloping the 4,600-square-foot building at 210 Thurman Ave., to be called Thurmania Place.

She hopes to create an emporium concept at the site, replete with chocolates, greeting cards, locally sourced food and knickknacks.

Milnes said she is seeking approval of her plans from the German Village Commission, the local architectural review board, and hopes to have the space ready by Aug. 1.

"We're in the midst of negotiations with a number of people," she said. "We're not exactly sure how the structure is all going to work. We're getting quite a bit of interest."

The building at 210 Thurman Ave. was constructed in 1914, Milnes said, and has had a number of uses over the years.

From 1914 to 1944, it was the Thurmania Theater. Use as a pharmacy, a doctor's office and an art gallery followed.

The Blue Sky Gallery occupied the space for almost 20 years but closed about three years ago. Milnes believes the building has been vacant ever since.

The faade has some significant architectural flourishes she's hoping to preserve.

"We're trying to return to it to some of its former glories," Milnes said. "It's a unique building."

She plans to lease the 2,600-square-foot emporium to several vendors and live in a 2,000-square-foot apartment in the back. Meanwhile, the 3,000-square-foot basement, former home of the Latvian Supper Club, will be converted to a wine and cheese shop and a banquet room.

Karen Page, president of the German Village Business Community, said she likes the sound of Milner's redevelopment plans.

"Thurman Avenue is a happening place," she said. "It's nice to take what's vacant and make it pretty."