- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux Falls developer is planning to transform an iconic five-story downtown building into an apartment complex.

Clint Stencil, owner of the Sioux Falls-based Clint Stencil Construction, has approached the city with plans to convert the 110-year-old former Bekins Moving and Storage building at the corner of Wesley Parkway and West Fourth Street into a 70- to 75-unit apartment building.

The Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/2gIqMy0 ) reports Stencil received the idea when he caught a glimpse of the former warehouse, which has a commanding presence near the city’s Wesley Way entrance, while driving through Sioux City on a visit.

“I just thought that building had a lot of potential,” he said. “I think it’s good because it’s walking distance for millennials to the downtown areas, to the casino. It’s close to the interstate and you can get around town pretty easily from there.”

Built in 1906, the building was touted as the first in Sioux City constructed with reinforced concrete. The building for years was owned by Bekins Moving and Storage Co., a moving, storage and furniture operation started by brothers John and Martin Bekins in 1891 in Sioux City.

Stencil, whose company works throughout the region, pointed to several successful projects in Sioux Falls that have converted older buildings into loft-style apartments as his inspiration. He said this will be his first project in Sioux City.

“I just thought, there’s no reason it can’t work here,” Stencil said.

Stencil said he plans to demolish the single-story strip mall portion at the front of the building and turn it into green space. He said the five-story structure will then become 70 to 75 apartment units, most of them one-bedroom. He said he expects rent to range from $700 to $750 per month.

Plans could also include construction of a 24-space garage, he said. The remaining parking will be in lots located at the front and rear of the building.

Stencil said the project could begin as soon as six months from now if all goes smoothly.

Earlier this month, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend rezoning of the property to allow for the creation of the apartments, as well as for the city to vacate two alleyways in the area. Those two recommendations will go before the City Council Jan. 9.

If approved, the project would join Ho-Chunk Inc.’s Virginia Square development currently under construction in the 100 block of Virginia Street among large historic downtown buildings re-purposed for urban residential use.

City Economic Development director Marty Dougherty said the project would be another boost to the downtown housing market and improve the look of one of the “front doors” to Sioux City.

“We think there’s a strong demand for market-rate housing downtown, and we think that will help us attract new residents and younger people and more economic activity in our downtown,” he said.

According to city documents, the project is expected to create about $4.2 million in new assessed valuation on the premises and will likely qualify for state tax credits.

Senior planner Brent Nelson said Stencil is still acquiring some of the property.

Nelson said he hopes the project will spur more development among the many other old industrial buildings in the vicinity, which were originally built along the main line of the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroad.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com


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