SIOUX CITY | As a Sioux City TV station prepares to relocate to a brand-new facility next year, plans for the future of the historic building it has occupied for 63 years are unclear. But some say the downtown building has enough life in it for something new.
KCAU-TV, an ABC affiliate, announced Monday it plans to move from its location at 625 Douglas St. to a new facility at 5993 Gordon Drive during the first quarter of 2017. The station has sat in downtown Sioux City since 1953.
"I think it's a one-of-a-kind building," said Jim Jung, who has researched the Douglas Street building's history and serves on Sioux City's Historic Preservation Commission. "It's structurally sound, and it's ready for a re-use. I think it really contributes to the downtown."
John Curry, KCAU's vice president and general manager, said KCAU does not own the building and has been leasing it from the Archer Family Trust. Curry said he didn't know what plans were in store at the facility.
"There's been all kinds of speculation, but I don't know," he said. "It's been a TV station since the mid-1950s. If someone wanted to do something with this building, they'd have to completely gut it."
Jung said the building is a unique and important piece to downtown. Jung, who has researched the history of the building, said the Sioux City Commercial Club formed a group in 1901 to look into building an auditorium and convention center, with an estimated cost of $50,000.
Jung said Sioux City residents supported the construction of the auditorium by purchasing $100 certificates. The building was completed in 1909 and was used as an auditorium until 1947, when it was then used as the Tomba Ballroom.
KVTV, Sioux City's first television station, began in 1953 and soon moved into the renovated auditorium. Its call letters changed to KCAU in 1967 when it joined the ABC television network.
KCAU identified its new location in April of this year and began construction on the $2.5 million project Oct. 1. The commercial building also houses a Planet Fitness franchise and United Rentals. The space was formerly occupied by a Bomgaars store.