Wednesday, February 27, 2008
sponsored by Maple Ridge

Historic Downtown Building Could Become a New Development

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[February 27, 2008]  The four-story building on McLean Street that sits across from the Logan County Courthouse could be bought soon and renovated. The building that was commonly known for many years as Lincoln Furniture, and more recently as the Lincoln Antique and Furniture Center, is in store for changes, one way or another.

City aldermen heard details of how the historic downtown building might be spared the potential of falling into disrepair, and made a bigger-than-it-is-now asset to the downtown in the near future.

Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman said she was contacted sooner, but she first met with two nice gentlemen on the night before Thanksgiving. The men would like to work with Main Street Lincoln and the city to do something nice downtown.

She asked Pete Ross if he would explain more to the council. Ross currently manages the business and the building, and would continue to manage the building if the interested party were to purchase it.

Ross said that this is one of the most historic buildings in Lincoln. It was designed and built in about 1915 by the same architect who built the courthouse.

The wife of the current building owner has become ill and he would like to sell now.

Two gentlemen from Texas have ambitious plans for the building that include an upscale restaurant, bed and breakfast, and a banquet room for wedding receptions and parties. "I think it would bring a lot of outside business into Lincoln. It would be a real boom to the downtown area," Ross said. They are looking to put a lot of money into it, he added.

The potential owners are interested in getting whatever tax incentives or other options the city might be able to help provide, Ross said. Anything you can do might help these gentlemen out and help bring them into town, he said.

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"My real concern is that if they don't buy it, someone else doesn't buy it, the gentleman who owns it now is going to walk away from it, and the building's going to sit and deteriorate," Ross said.

The mayor said that most of the seven points listed in a request made to the city and county have been covered. She said that guidance from Les Last, the city building and code officer, was helpful. Last sat in at the November meeting with the businessmen. The fire department inspectors have already assessed the building and made recommendations, along with Last's inspection, she said.

"It looks like mostly, now, they will be seeking historic building grants," she said.

The mayor called on Aldermen Jonie Tibbs, who serves on the city's public grounds and building committee and the Historic Homes and Buildings Commission; Alderman Wanda Lee Rohlfs, who also serves as the executive director of Main Street Lincoln; and the new director for Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership, Joel Smiley, who was in the audience. She asked if they would work together with the potential new business owners to see if there are grants available.

This is a beautiful building that's four stories. It is a very nice structured building, and a lot of nice things can be done for our downtown with that.

The building is in the enterprise zone.


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