Empty historic building in Boone ready for renovation


BOONE, Iowa (AP) — Sani Tadic laughs when he says his company paid $25,000 for the historic Boone News Republican building in downtown Boone.

“It’s in terrible shape and probably not worth much,” said Tadic, owner of Alfas Properties in West Des Moines. “Even the appraiser honestly said it probably wasn’t worth anything.”

The building at 812 Keeler St. was constructed in 1912 and the newspaper vacated in 2004.

It was empty and used for storage until the Boone Elks Committee bought it in 2017. But his plans to remodel and revitalize the building into Elks Lodge never came to fruition.

Despite the haunting conditions inside the building, Tadic said he was not put off by the challenge.

“The property is very structurally sound. He has good bones,” Tadic told the Ames Tribune. “Even the interior foundation walls are in very good condition. It’s a very tough looking structure and there’s a great story behind it.

Boone City Administrator Bill Skare said the community was thrilled to see work on the building. The city has partnered with Alfas Properties and the Ames Economic Development Commission to write a grant application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the project, which includes renovating the building into two apartments. on the second floor, two apartments on the ground floor and two commercial apartments on the ground floor. spatial units.

Iowa awarded $100,000. The city provided an additional $30,000 as a Boone Downtown Incentive grant to repair the facade, which in places has crumbled and skewed stone, while lower windows have been boarded up to a fraction of their original size. .

Tadic said his company would invest an additional $350,000 in the project.

“The city couldn’t be happier that Alfas Properties has purchased this building and is bringing back this great building from the past,” Skare said. “This $100,000 state grant is a big deal for Boone.”

The city just completed the final paperwork two weeks ago, Tadic said, so interior work began last week. The first major item will be the replacement of the roof, he said.

“Everything comes from the roof,” Tadic said. “It’s in the worst shape with major holes through it.”

Due to supply chain delays due to the pandemic, Tadic said the best-case scenario is for the building to be completed in fall 2023. But that could push back until spring 2024.

Once open, the four one-bedroom apartments will likely rent for between $700 and $800 a month, with parking spaces reserved for tenants, Tadic said. Units will range from 500 square feet to 904 square feet.

One commercial space will be 1,100 square feet and the other 840 square feet.

Tadic said he sees the commercial space as an important opportunity for the city.

“There is a lot of potential there. Next door is a chiropractor, so one space or both spaces could be used for medical or dental care,” Tadic said. “But it would also be a good place for a gym or a restaurant.

“It’s right in the center of Boone and we really want to try to bring something the town needs rather than throwing anybody into it.”

Skare said the Alfas Properties project is a sign of things to come for Boone.

“We’ve had other grants, but this one is very important downtown,” Skare said. “The rehabilitation and renovation of downtown buildings is needed in our community.”

Skare said Alfas Properties came to town with the idea of ​​applying for the state grant.

“And that’s how this kind of thing starts. A business owner comes to us and asks us to apply for the grant on his behalf. But they must be prepared to invest in their own building because it is a matching grant,” Skare said.

Skare said he hopes another Boone company will come forward to apply for next year’s state grant, which focuses on projects in inner city areas of the city. While state grants can go toward work throughout the building, city incentives are reserved for exterior repairs.

The city began the grantmaking effort in 2013. Other buildings and businesses that have benefited from the program include the Dutch Oven Bakery, 605 Story St., the former JCPenney Building at 702 Story St., and Saints Avenue Cafe , 1312 S. Story. St.

“Any city with a strong downtown is a thriving and vibrant city,” Skare said. “I think it allows the community to show off well when potential businesses or young families considering relocating to Boone come take a look. It really makes a difference.”

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