A flurry of local announcements this month will breathe new life into several old buildings and boost downtown.
The projects include:
- J Development Company LLC of Council Bluffs, Iowa, plans a $14.6 million renovation of the 105-year-old Commerce Building at 520 Nebraska St. into a mixture of apartments, retail space and office space.
- J Development Company plans a $5.95 million renovation of an 83-year-old building at 413 Pierce St. most recently occupied by Hatch Furniture into a mixture of commercial and residential space.
- Lamb Arts Regional Theatre plans to purchase and refurbish a 108-year-old building at 625 Douglas St. most recently occupied by KCAU. Features of the $11.5 million project, which is designed to return the building to its original performing-arts roots, include a two-story atrium, main-floor theater, smaller studio theater, cabaret-style bar and classroom space. On Monday, the City Council approved a $350,000 loan to Lamb Arts for purchase of the building from the present owner, Archer Family Trust.
These three announcements come on the heels of plans, either recently begun or announced, for redevelopment of several other historic downtown buildings. Those projects include:
- Transformation by Sioux Falls, South Dakota, developer Clint Stencil Construction of the former Bekins Moving and Storage Co. warehouse at the corner of Wesley Parkway and West Fourth Street into an apartment complex.
- Redevelopment to residential and commercial use by Ho-Chunk Inc. of three former industrial buildings in the 100 block of Virginia Street for a project called Virginia Square.
- A planned $56 million renovation announced by local businessman Lew Weinberg earlier this year of the former Warrior Hotel building and Davidson Building in the 500 block of Sixth Street into a combination hotel and residential/commercial/retail complex.
As unabashed advocates for a vibrant downtown, we again today praise both the private sector and our public sector for commitment to and investment in our community's core. The result is a place of renaissance reflecting expansion of cultural amenities, entertainment choices, and urban-living options, and creation of green spaces.
As we watch these individual pieces of an overall vision to create a dynamic destination for residents and visitors continue falling into place, our outlook for the future of downtown grows brighter.
In significant ways, the new projects announced this month contribute to this momentum.