- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A developer has proposed renovating the long-vacant Warden Plaza building in downtown Fort Dodge into space for apartments, stores and offices.

Richard Sova, the president of Lake Barrington, Illinois-based Landover Corp., explained his plans for the landmark building Monday night to the Fort Dodge City Council.

An early projection placed the project cost at $12 million, but Sova said that figure likely will rise, according to Fort Dodge Messenger (https://bit.ly/1miL1xe ).

“Every time I walk through the building, I see dollar signs going up,” he said.

The eight-story Warden Plaza was built about 1925 and has been vacant for a decade.

Sova proposed building retail space on the first floor, offices on the second floor and apartments on the higher floors. The project also includes turning an adjacent building into a parking garage with apartments on the top floors, or demolishing that building if those renovations are too expensive.

The interior of the Warden Plaza has been largely destroyed due to neglect and vandalism, Sova said, but the structure is sound.

“It is a grand old building,” he said. “It appears to be totally structurally sound.”

Sova’s company would buy Warden Plaza from its current owner, Corale LLC, of Oakland, California.

Sova said he’ll ask the council for property tax abatements and to endorse his applications for tax credits.

If financing is available, Sova said construction could start in the spring of 2015.

Although he’s optimistic about the project, Sova said it’s bigger than his previous projects and many elements must fall into place.

“This is not a done deal,” Sova said.

Council members questioned Sova but didn’t raise objections.

Councilman Dave Flattery called the building “a major problem we’ve got to deal with.”

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Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net

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