Construction is underway on an Old Market project that will convert a four-story brick building once home to the Antiquarium into 12 luxury apartments with a retail space on the first floor and a new jazz bar in the basement.
The $2.6 million project at 1215 Harney St., which is taking advantage of historical tax credits and $404,000 in tax increment financing, is being led by Matt Dougherty of Dougherty Management. He said his goal is maintaining much of the building's original character, including original window woodwork, wood floors, beadboard ceilings and the original staircase.
Renamed the Fairbanks Building, it will feature the apartments along with the Harney Street Tavern, the name for the jazz bar that will be in the basement. Dougherty said there are several restaurants and retailers interested in the ground-level space, but no one has signed on yet.
The apartments are expected to be ready for pre-leasing in late November and ready for move-in by December. There will be a variety of floor plans, including one-bedrooms, a one-bedroom with a loft, two-bedrooms and a two-bedroom with a loft. Rents will range from $950 per month to $1,845, Dougherty said.
Amenities will include an elevator, a secured building and dedicated storage units in the basement. Tenants must purchase parking separately.
Dougherty said his target demographic for the apartments are those aged 40 to 60 who are looking to move out of the suburbs but aren't interested in buying a condominium.
“They're for someone who wants a condo finish but doesn't want to be locked into a condo,” he said. “They want to rent something nice and not have to own it.” Each apartment will feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and in-unit washers and dryers.
Dougherty's other projects include the building at 1316 Jones St., which was turned into lofts, and the former Reniers Pianos building on the northwest corner of 49th and Dodge Streets, which is now commercial space.
The Old Market building has been empty for several years since the Antiquarium bookstore moved to Brownville, Neb., in 2007. It formerly housed the bookstore and the Antiquarium records store, which also moved in 2007 and then closed last year.
Neighboring business Perspective Jewelry, which designs custom jewelry, is happy to see the activity, owner Matt Powell said. While the Antiquarium didn't draw the same kinds of customers that Perspective Jewelry does, he said, it was nice to see the space occupied.
While the construction has been a bit of a nuisance, “we're just thrilled to see this end of the Old Market starting to get some action,” Powell said, adding that a retail shop rather than a bar or restaurant in the first-floor space would be ideal.
“It'd be nice to see retail to draw people in this direction, but anything that's going to bring a nice clientele by is good for us,” Powell said.
Dougherty said historical projects are a challenge, but he didn't want to “scrape off” the building and start from scratch. The structure's bones are solid, he said, and restoration is “worth it.”
“I have a passion for bringing the history back,” he said.
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