City reviews proposal for downtown building

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners reviewed a proposal from local business owners for renovating a downtown building that recently was purchased by the city.

In April, city commissioners approved the purchase of the building at 600 Cherokee St. for $205,000.

The building, which encompasses more than 12,000 square feet, at one time housed a business called Club Venom but has been vacant for more than 10 years.

During an April 13 City Commission meeting, City Manager Paul Kramer said there was interest in the building, but the gap between what the previous owner asked for the property and the cost to rehabilitate the structure kept the building from being purchased by a private owner.

After the city purchased the building, proposals were requested from people who were interested in the redevelopment of the property.

Assistant City Manager Taylour Tedder said Darin and Amy Mann submitted the only proposal to the city.

The Manns reviewed their proposal Tuesday with city commissioners.

Darin said he and his wife have restored many local buildings including one that had been significantly damaged by fire.

He said the structure at 600 Cherokee St. is a beautiful building.

"It looks so awful now, but I have a vision for it that will bring it back to its former glory," he said.

Darin envisions the building housing a restaurant or microbrewery. He said the building also offers additional retail space in the back. He said the upper level of the building can be converted into two loft apartments.

Darin said restoration of the building could take about two years. He said grants may be sought to help pay for the project.

In the written proposal submitted to the city, the Manns estimated the project will cost more than $500,000.

Citing the rising cost of building materials, the Manns have offered to pay the city only $1 to purchase the building in order to maximize the money available to invest in the restoration.

Commissioners took no action during Tuesday's meeting, which was a study session.

Tedder said city commissioners will be asked next week to consider authorizing city staff to negotiate a development agreement for the project.

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Reached a consensus to move forward with a process that could result in the demolition of structures that may be deemed to be dangerous.

• Received a report about Leavenworth public schools from Jake Potter, director of public relations for the school district.