Preserving Brooksville’s historic downtown is as simple as beautifying what already exists.
That was the idea behind the restoration of an early 1900s building that stands proud on the corner of Main and Liberty Streets in downtown Brooksville. The multi-level structure, with an interesting history of several different faces, has been a community landmark for more than 100 years.
The building was recently restored from its foundation to its roof and from all four interior walls. A pleasing “French quarter style” balcony, added to the second floor, now accents Brooksville’s old town charm. And the building’s front identifies its next legacy, in big bold letters, as the Lowman Law Firm.
Joe and Stephanie Lowman, two practicing Hernando County attorneys, collaborated with Joe’s uncle and aunt, Matt and Beverly Lowman, to renovate the downtown building into a law firm with available professional space while also expanding into other family endeavors.
The Lowmans have been civil attorneys in Hernando County for 10 years. Stephanie, who is also a stay-at-home- mom, worked primarily from her home office. Joe shares office space and works with his longtime friend and colleague, Frank Miller, Esquire on Lamar Avenue in Brooksville.
The focus of the practice is Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, and Wrongful Death.
The Lowmans decided they needed a location where the two could come together as attorneys while providing opportunities for other family businesses under the same roof.
They are a tight-knit family with deep roots in Hernando County. Joe and Stephanie are not native to Brooksville but Joe’s family dates back several generations. And Matt and Beverly Lowman own numerous lucrative businesses, including two golf courses in Hudson.
The four began the process of finding a viable location that could accommodate their short and long-term family goals. Teetering on the decision to either build new or purchase an existing structure set the epitome for Matt’s discovery of the vacant building on Liberty and Main.
It was an easy sell for Joe and Stephanie since they were already sold on Brooksville’s charm. They moved from Tampa ten years ago and live just a block down the street. “We love it here,” Joe said. “Everyone knows everyone. And it has become our home.”
“And our family is here,” Stephanie added.
It helped that the history behind the building painted an intriguing picture. “It used to be the Antique Sampler and WWJB at one time,” Joe explained. Its earliest use, they discovered through old photographs, was as a livery stable.
Brooksville is filled with open windows into its historic past, depicted in murals along many of the downtown buildings. The Lowmans discovered through old photographs that the mural on the south exterior wall of their building is an accurate representation how things used to be.
Brooksville’s deeply rooted, old southern charm is best told in preserved pieces of its history. The Lowmans wanted to share the tradition by molding their business on a historical foundation.
They purchased the building and finalized plans to restore it into the perfect blend of old historical charm and modern appeal. The process took more than two years to complete. “It became a family affair,” Matt Lowman said.
They even qualified for a grant from the city to help pay for some of the exterior restoration that could only benefit the downtown district. Joe credits City employee, Bill Geiger, as extremely helpful in assisting them in the grant process.
Joe Lowman designed the interior of the building. “He worked out everything,” Matt said, including where he wanted the offices and conference rooms to be. Matt then took Joe’s ideas to Rick Pearson of Proud Pelican Construction and had the plans drawn up.
“It was Joe’s thought,” Matt chuckled with an endearing smile. “But I designed it.”
They contracted Marc Delape of Modern Day Construction to do the renovating. It took about 9 months to complete Joe’s plans. Much of the original architecture was preserved; including the original hardwood flooring that was dated back 90 years.
“Marc did an amazing job,” Joe said.
Indeed the result is impressive. Several stylish offices and conference rooms complete the downstairs with a professional atmosphere that commands respect.
The signature feature everyone instantly notices is its balcony, which was inspired by a photograph of another building that no longer exists. “We wanted something that would make us unique,” Joe said, “something we could be proud of.”
The facility will serve as the main office for Lowman Law Firm and will host mediations and depositions. “We already have a court reporter that is going to use our building,” Joe said.
There is also enough room for other professionals to lease office space on a temporary or regular basis. Joe’s brother and brother-in-law occupy a suite for their internet marketing company, Bluleadz.
The Lowman Law Firm works on cases throughout the State of Florida, not just in Hernando County.
“We offer free consultations,” Joe said. Personal service is their promise. “We are hands-on with all our cases. If I’m representing you, it’s the most important case to you. So it should be the most important case to me.”
The family bond is difficult if not impossible to miss inside the new Lowman Law Firm. Still a work in progress as they await delivery of the interior furnishings, at least two offices currently host creative toy train ensembles.
Joe Lowman laughed. “Our kids love coming here,” he said. Luke, 7, Wyatt, 6, and Olivia, 2, are clearly behind the sparkle in his eye.
One day Matt and Beverly hope their own children will occupy space at the Lowman Law Firm. Their son, Brent, is already an attorney who is currently serving as a Marine. Their daughter, Rachel, just graduated from UCF with an Accounting Degree.
For now, Matt uses the facility to “de-stress” after a long day in the golf course business. “This is where I check my laptop, lay on the couch and take a nap,” he said.
Biz at a Glance
Name: Lowman Law Firm
Location: 31 North Main Street, Brooksville
Telephone: (352) 796-0016
Kim Dame is a correspondent for Hernando Today. She can be reached at [email protected]