Buffett & Son Grocery
Omaha, NE
12,500 SF

In 1915, Ernest Buffett moved the family-owned grocery out of Omaha to the neighboring Village of Dundee. In 1929, Ernest’s son and daughter-in-law, Fred and Katherine Buffett moved the store into a new building at 5015 Underwood. Built in two bays two years apart, the grocery remained in operation until 1969 when the store closed and the building was sold. The building changed hands several times and was modified with each purchase. In 2004, AO acquired the structure and began an extensive renovation.

The street façade had been dramatically changed over the years. The clay tile mansard roof, a typical feature in the early twentieth-century mercantile buildings in the area, had been removed to make way for a sign panel. The large storefront and glazing were removed and the masonry had been covered with manufactured stone. It was discovered during demolition that the original red brick façade had been painstakingly painted (three different brick colors and separate mortar paint color) at some point in its life, but not shown in any of the historical research. The sign panel was removed, as was the non-conforming storefront. Relying on the original photos of the building, the mansard roof, gutters, brackets, and tile work were recreated. The masonry window openings were infilled with aluminum storefront, matching the configuration of the original. The paint was removed to once again allow the original façade to show itself.

Little of the original interior remained other than the tin ceiling and skylights. The ceiling was emphasized with indirect lighting and the spaces were developed in a contemporary style to highlight the difference between old and new.

Renovation was completed in 2005 at a cost of $270,000. A new bank tenant moved into the west bay in 2008 and the building was sold in 2009. As a result, AO has been working on multiple contracts up to the present. The building resides within the Dundee-Happy Hollow Historic District and has received two AIA NE Awards of Merit, for the original renovation and for the Dundee Bank interior in 2008 and 2010.

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