WASILLA — Richard and Tyan Payne are working to revitalize the most recognizable sight in Wasilla, the clock tower.
In the building where Tyan went shopping with her mother as a young girl and bought the wedding dress that she would marry Richard in, the Paynes are working to transform the iconic clock tower into something beautiful. The Clock Tower, formerly known as Meta Rose Square, will hold the grand opening for Alaska Chicks and Chickadees on Oct. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with giveaways and food trucks in the parking lot.
“It always a mark of the Wasilla skyline. It’s the only uniquely shaped building,” said Tyan Payne.
Richard and Tyan bought Meta Rose Square in the summer of 2018 and have invested time and resources into updating nearly every aspect of the building both inside and out. Richard Payne told the Wasilla City Council that he believed he and his wife could turn the building around and make it something the city can take pride in. Since purchasing the building, the Paynes have been busy changing the look of the iconic Clock Tower. The east-facing facade of the building is now encased in brick, and a new clock face has been shipped and will be installed when it arrives. The Paynes are member owners in Legacy Ventures LLC., which is orchestrating the renovations of The Clock Tower, as well as other properties in Wasilla’s downtown area.
“It’s iconic. There’s nothing quite like the clock tower,” said Richard Payne at the July 2018 Wasilla Council meeting where the sale was voted on.
The Paynes hired Garic Hayes as their general contractor to upgrade the trim, install stained wood flooring and refurbish the storefront mezzanines with stainless steel. The electrical systems were redone, the stairs refinished, but what stands out on the interior of The Clock Tower is the elaborate glass chandeliers hanging above the open foyer. The red brick accents not only the outer facade, but the indoor walls as well.
“My wife’s brilliant and it’s fun so see her in her element honestly,” said Richard Payne. “We wanted to invest in the community and my wife grew up here and had a lot of fond memories of this as a child and it was really in pretty rough shape..My wife had a vision on what it could be and we’re still working to achieve that vision.”
The city of Wasilla sold the Clock Tower after purchasing the building in an unsuccessful attempt to turn a profit in managing tenants. With a failing heater and lack of business support, the city of Wasilla sold the building to the Paynes in the summer of 2018. The Paynes hope to fill the handful of existing vacant spaces in the near future. A concrete patio will be poured this week to serve as extra seating in hopes of signing a lease with a restaurant in the front space across from Alaska Chicks.
Tyan’s vision is to have cohesive businesses that encourage the shopper to visit multiple stores and stay a while. Tyan hopes to have tenants that attract Valley women to come to The Clock Tower not only for their shopping needs, but as a hub for the community as well.
“We have the vision of it being a gathering place where people can come,” said Tyan Payne.
Tyan hopes to fill the rest of the empty spaces with businesses that care about their customers the way the Paynes do for theirs. Tyan Payne said she wants shoppers at The Clock Tower to feel well cared for and comfortable, and hopes to have musicians and artists perform in the foyer in the future. The Paynes were very thankful of Pattaya Sushi and Thai Restaurant for sticking with them throughout the entire construction process, and also thanked Alaska Chicks, Relic Photography and Chickadees.
“Seeing the vision before the vision was present that means a lot to us, because it’s hard to be the first ones, because it’s not full yet and it’s not completely vibrant yet,” said Tyan Payne.
The Paynes hope that their renovations of The Clock Tower will encourage local businesses to bring their business to Wasilla. Throughout the process of deciding what to do with The Clock Tower, the Payne’s worked with Hayes and discussed how to improve the design. Tyan Payne was pleased and said that their work far exceeded her expectations, and marvels at how the building looks unrecognizable from what it was before.
“It’s so fun to take a building that has looked the same way for so many years and frankly looks pretty bad after that long, and transform it into something beautiful,” said Tyan Payne.