Jeff council hears progress reports on its downtown buildings

The city of Jefferson has spent more than $450,000 rehabilitating four historic downtown buildings and more work is needed on every one of them. No money has been spent yet on the city’s newest acquisition – the building at 100 E. State St that was most recently home to Angie’s Tea Garden.

At the request of the council, building/zoning officer and special projects coordinator Nick Sorensen provided a “quick list” of what has been done and what still needs to be done on the buildings at the regular council meeting Nov. 26. Four of the five buildings don’t look significantly improved on the exterior, but a surprising amount of work has been done.

Sorensen discussed the buildings in the order in which they were acquired – 205 N. Wilson Ave, 200 E. State St, 204 N. Wilson Ave, 107 N. Chestnut St, and 100 E. State St.

Work has included new roofs, demo and/or repair of interior walls, new electrical service, tuckpointing, putting in concrete floors to replace dirt floors, installing new windows, replacing walls, mold remediation, removing asbestos, and more.

Council member Dave Sloan, who voiced concern about the city-owned buildings at a special meeting last week, asked Sorensen if there’s a time frame for finishing any of the buildings. “I wish I could give you a time frame, but I’m at the mercy of contractors at times. I was hoping Sept. 1 of this year. That’s what I was hoping for and you see what I’ve got, so I’m very hesitant to give anybody a time line,” Sorensen answered. “I would hope Sept. 1 of next year.”

He said the building at 200 E. State St, dubbed “City View” by Jefferson Matters volunteers, is nearly finished and could be on the market in March. Heartland Bank will lease the west bay of the double-bay building. Nothing has been done toward rehabbing the second floor apartments in the building. Sorensen. Cost to date has been $230,000, according to Sorensen.

Work at the former Pizza Ranch has been slowed by needing to replace structural beams in the ceiling. That has been done since last week. Cost to date has been $60,000.
When the city was given the first of the buildings (205 N. Wilson) it came with $5,000 for needed repairs. The city has spent $150,000 to date.

He’s looking for a fast turn-around on the Tea Garden building due to the fact an engineer and an architect are involved, and there will be construction documents and general contractor handling the job.

Finish date for 107 N. Chestnut St in next year. Work has started on the south side of the building but the north side is still being used by Elite Power Tumbling. That program takes a summer hiatus so work won’t start until May. The city has spent $18,000 on repairing the building so far.

“Each building has its own challenges. We work with each one,” Sorensen said. “It’s my hope that Tea Garden is potentially the last, but we can’t say that because we never know when one might be at risk for falling.”

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