Jerome Karam Receives Preservation Award

1915 Lester Davidson Building

1926 Mechanic at 20th Street

REHABILITATION Award- Jerome Karam

CRAFTSMANSHIP Award- David Watson, Project Architect


In 1915, Brooklyn native Lester Davidson opened a hotel on the second floor of his new building located on the corner of 20th Street and Mechanic. Featuring Prairie School inspired features, the downstairs bays fronting 20th Street provided retail storefronts that supported the hotel. As years passed, the building fell into disrepair and after Hurricane Ike in 2008, the building was abandoned.


The current owner purchased the vacant property in 2014 and worked with architect David Watson on a four year rehabilitation to save the property that was marred by neglect, wood-rot and extensive termite damage. Watson’s plan began with the roof which was rebuilt with new support beams and trusses, replacement of the steel I-beam that supported the upper load bearing masonry walls, replacement of major portions of the second floor framing and removal of the entire first floor concrete slab, which sank 6” after Hurricane Ike. A new concrete slab was poured and the first floor divided into five, single car garages to support reconfiguration of the building as five separate luxury row-houses with second floor levels that contain open kitchens and living areas, master suites and balconies. Throughout the project, the building’s unique, geometric details were maintained.


The completed rehabilitation gives the Lester Davidson building new life contributing to the revitalization of historic downtown Galveston.

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