Rise to shine

“Our intention is to start demolition work soon,” says Russell,
president of Land Run Commercial Real Estate. “We will be under
construction within 30 to 45 days, as the previous owner is moving out.”

Earlier
this year, Russell purchased two buildings behind the hotel/motel
building: an empty nightclub at 2415 N. Walker and a former gas station
at 2425 N. Walker.

Other
property owners and developers along N.W. 23rd Street have complained
about the property’s appearance as they have invested in new businesses
and eateries nearby.

Restaurateur
Chris Lower’s investments included Big Truck Tacos and Mutts. With Big
Truck across the street from the liquidation store, Lower says it was an
eyesore that he hoped would one day be torn down or redeveloped. But he
had no intention of buying it himself.

“It was way too big for anything I would want to do,” he says.

Lower praised Russell’s efforts not only to renovate the retail building, but also to redevelop the surrounding block.

“Some
new retail activity in the area will be a win-win for the developer and
the people who live around there, and those who patronize the
restaurants and retailers that are already there,” he says.

Russell says the building holds great potential for new tenants once the existing store is gone.

“This
property is a big transition point on 23rd Street,” he says. “We feel
like it will go down if this property isn’t renovated and it’s just
refilled with tenants.”

His
first challenge is finding the right tenants to stabilize the property.
He is talking with local, regional and national retailers, but did not
disclose any names.

“We’re trying to get the right tenant mix,” he says. “We’ve been inundated with interest.”

Land Run will handle leasing, and serve as general contractor. The schedule calls for renovations to occur this fall and winter.

The
first tenants could move in as soon as spring 2013. After that, he will
begin to look at options for his other properties on the block.

“There’s potential for more development,” he says.

His
plan calls for a new face on the building, storefront retail along N.W.
23rd Street, and opening the north side for additional shops and
eateries.

Anthony
McDermid, principal at TAP Architecture, which is handling the project,
says the building is well worn, but not a candidate for the wrecking
ball.

“No one has spent any money on it for a long time,” he says. “You see deferred maintenance and a tired property, but structurally, it’s in good shape.”

Using
historic photos of the 1939 building, McDermid designed awnings that
resemble those of one-time tenant Cullimore Furniture. The corner piece
will include large windows that wrap around the building while keeping
much of the exterior intact.

“The intention is to reuse as much of the existing building as possible,” he says.

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