SIOUX CITY | For many years, the faded, painted-on advertisement on the side of the Bekins Moving and Storage building advertised the structure at the corner of West Fourth Street and Wesley Parkway as the place "where beautiful homes begin."
The former warehouse is going through a sort of rebirth. Instead of being the place where beautiful homes begin, the Bekins building will itself be a 'beautiful home' for dozens of renters.
Built in 1906, the structure was the first in Sioux City to be built of reinforced concrete. It's in the midst of a transformation into an apartment complex with 70 loft-style residences, which are expected to rent for between $700 and $750 per month.
To that end, there's been a lot of chubbub at the building lately. The one-story former retail addition of the building was taken down in July, and new windows were cut out from the masonry walls.
The man behind the project is Clint Stencil, a developer and owner of Sioux Falls-based Clint Stencil Construction. Stencil worked with architectural firm M+ Architects of Sioux City on the project.
The project is progressing nicely, Stencil said in an interview last month. Work on new electrical and plumbing infrastructure started, and roofing was nearly complete.
Stencil said the decision was made to tear down one-story additions to the building, "mostly because it wasn't in very good shape."
Besides that, Stencil had a vision for the space that part of the building covered -- a lawn.
"We wanted some green area for our residents," Stencil said. "And we really didn't have enough room to have a yard."
When the apartments are finished, they will boast Energy Star appliances, and residents will have access to an exercise facility, as well as a game room with a fireplace and television sets.
Virtually every part of the interior will be brand-new, he said, except for some areas with exposed brickwork. Not much inside the old industrial structure was set up for residential occupation.
"On the inside, it was all concrete and brick, basically," Stencil said. "Structurally it was in good shape, it just needed to be cleaned up."
The developer said he will start to accept applications to live in the new apartments around late December or January. Mid-April 2018 is the target date for the project to be complete.
Stencil's company, Clint Stencil Construction, is no stranger to ventures like the Bekins warehouse. What drew him to it, he said, was the building's proximity to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, as well as other popular destinations downtown.
"We've done several projects that are similar to this," he said. "I guess I just liked the location of it."
Marty Dougherty, Sioux City's economic development director, said that the city is happy to work with Stencil on the development of the Bekins building into apartments.
City show a renovated building will create about $4.2 million in new assessed valuation for property tax purposes.
The city worked with Stencil to help him try and obtain economic aid for the project, such as workforce housing credits through the state and the Facade Improvement Grant Program through Sioux City.
"We've worked on the project quite extensively," Dougherty said. He added that, because Stencil and his investors have invested around $6.5 million in the project, it made sense for the city to provide a little help.
Dougherty stressed the importance of market-rate housing and mixed-use housing to the future of downtown.
"Sioux City's downtown is still kind of in the early stages of growth for the potential for people to live and work in the downtown area," he said.