City commissioners will have a special meeting Tuesday to discuss a construction contract that must be approved this month in order to spend a grant to rehabilitate a Main Street building.
The state Commerce Department awarded the city a $250,000 community development block grant to go toward construction at the 714 Main St. building owned by Weld Properties.
The city is under no financial obligation for any of the project costs but must approve a contract with a contractor under the terms of the grant.
Accessibility Solutions in Lawrence submitted a bid of approximately $393,000 that will be considered at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. According to the meeting packet, Weld Properties has committed to paying the costs beyond the grant funding to move the project forward.
“The city believed that it was such a strategically important building in our downtown that needs repairs that they were willing to partner with us,” GW Weld said in an interview this week.
Weld said the first goal is structural stabilization. The building has taken a lot of water damage, and a new roof is among the first construction goals.
When construction is finished, approximately four commercial spaces can be rented out within the property, Weld said. There aren’t any negotiations with potential tenants at this time, he said.
According to the building’s National Register of Historic Places registration form, the north half of the building was constructed around 1860 while the south half was added sometime between 1873 and 1880.
The Kansas Historical Society notes the building previously housed businesses such as the Gardner, Hill & Co general store, Eudora Cash Shoe Store, The Eudora News, the Eudora Department Store, Coast to Coast, various grocery stores and Broers Flowers.
“I didn’t know how historically significant it was ‘til after I bought it,” Weld said. “We live downtown, and I grew up here, and I didn’t like it when a lot of buildings fell into disrepair.”
Pending contract approval, rehabilitation of the building is set to begin this month. Construction must be complete by September 2022 under the terms of the grant.
Reach reporter William Crow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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