SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City Council deferred demolition of the former YMCA on Nebraska Street at a Thursday hearing after viewing plans for a multi-million-dollar renovation of the derelict building.
Paul Bernard, managing member of Residential Equity Partners LLC, the Concord, California-based company that owns the building, told the council his company plans to invest around $3.3 million in the property to turn the structure into an office building, for which he already has two prospective tenants.
"This was built to be a YMCA; this was built to last forever," he said. "The building is still structurally solid."
In addition, Bernard said the company is in discussions to purchase the property to the south and build a $7.4 million five-story parking structure.
Bernard showed preliminary drawings to the council and said while he doesn't have a solid date for the proposed 18-month revitalization to begin, he plans to keep the building secure and maintain the premises in the meantime.
The building has sat vacant since 2009, when the Siouxland YMCA sold it after moving across the river into the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA building on the South Sioux City riverfront. It has changed hands twice since then, with conditions going downhill following gutting work that landed a former owner in prison for violation of asbestos removal standards.
Residential Equity Partners LLC, had purchased the building in October 2015 for $4,148.
The building landed on Thursday's hearing agenda along with seven other properties.
Bernard acknowledged his company had not done well with upkeep of the property but said he would begin work on closing off potential entrance points Friday.
Sioux City code enforcement manager Darrell Bullock said he agreed the building was sound, and that the inspections staff would entertain proposals by the council to allow the owner more time for development.
"I think he's made a very strong commitment by flying here from California to represent this building," Bullock said. "There have been some hiccups in maintenance along the way, and he's committed to making sure that doesn't happen."
Councilman Alex Watters said he believed the project merited a demolition deferral.
“Obviously we don’t want dilapidated properties around our city, but we’re not in the business of taking ones that are structurally sound, either," Watters said. "Especially if we can add something to this scale; I think the council wants that.”
The council voted 3-0 to defer the item until Dec. 4. Councilman Dan Moore and Mayor Bob Scott were absent from the meeting.