The number above the door says only "27," but the actual address is 127 N. Walnut St. It sits at a bizarre, 70-degree angle to the street. Its cramped, 352-square-foot interior is a decoupage reflecting 125 years of evolving choices in interior design.

The number above the door says only "27," but the actual address is 127 N. Walnut St. It sits at a bizarre, 70-degree angle to the street. Its cramped, 352-square-foot interior is a decoupage reflecting 125 years of evolving choices in interior design.


It is, perhaps, downtown Sherman’s most eccentric building.


"We’ve been told it’s the oldest unmodified building in downtown Sherman," said area developer Sean Vanderveer, the building’s owner. "There’s a lot of people who drive by and love this building; it’s so unique."


On Monday, Vanderveer asked for and received the final 2015 grant from Sherman’s Building Restoration and Improvement Fund, which provides a 25 percent match for the restoration of historic downtown buildings. The Fund’s $40,000 balance, which comes from the city’s hotel/motel tax receipts, was dispersed among nine different projects this year, including the massive renovation at the future site of the Old Iron Post restaurant, which is due to open in the coming weeks.


"It’s one of my favorite buildings," Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker said as the Council approved Vanderveer’s application.


Vanderveer secured the final $3,100 in the fund for upgrades at the Walnut Street site, a project that will likely cost more than $20,000 in its entirety, he said. The funky, circa-1882 building he is rehabilitating has at times served as a watch repair shop, an architect’s office and a jewelry store.


"Everybody just calls it ‘The Watch Shop,’" Vanderveer said. "There were a lot of people that loved it and didn’t want to see it be torn down."


The rehab project will reinforce the building’s 13-inch brick walls, add plumbing and create a secure entrance, Vanderveer said. Though he has no specific tenant in mind, the developer said he could envision the structure housing a small restaurant or coffee shop once completed.


"We would like to see a drive-thru of some sort come in, or a very small eatery of some sort," Vanderveer said. "It’d be neat to have some seating out front — just something that can serve the downtown area."


In other business, councilors unanimously approved a proposal from Councilman Jason Sofey that will relax limits on propane use inside of city limits. The amended ordinance, which Sofey said was designed to make the city more friendly to housing developers, will permit underground propane tanks up to 500 gallons in capacity on any lot at least 1 acre in size that does not have access to city-wide gas service.


Under the previous ordinance, large-scale propane was not allowed for residential home heating and cooking applications.


The Council also approved an ordinance implementing a negotiated rate with Atmos Energy, which will raise the average home gas bill by $13.68 per year and the average annual bill for business owners by $32.28. Those rates were set after the city denied Atmos’ initial request to increase revenues by $45.7 million. The Texas Railroad Commission reduced the Atmos increase to $43 million for 2014, with an additional $15 million for 2015.


According to the Atmos Cities Steering Committee, which oversaw negotiations, the bill increases will represent a 1.6 percent hike for residential customers and a 1 percent increase for businesses. The city elected to accept the negotiated settlement amount instead of filing a contested case with the Commission, which city staff said would have cost millions of dollars in legal fees.